Viking Trader Owner Says, ‘Move Over Columbus’ – October 9 is Leif Erickson Day

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Thanks to Donald Hansen, owner of the online Viking artifact dealer The Viking Trader™, October 9, 2006 will be Leif Erickson day in Washington state. Hansen teamed up with State Senator Ken Jacobsen to urge Governor Christine Gregoire to recognize the first European to reach North America.

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Older generations may recall the jingle, “In fourteen-hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” But little recognition is given to Leif Erickson, the Viking explorer who became the first European to set foot in North America – 492 years before Columbus.

Donald Hansen, owner of The Viking Trader™ (, has helped correct this historical oversight.

“In keeping with my personal and professional interests, I am determined to have Erickson recognized throughout the country – one state at a time if necessary,” Hansen said. “It’s fitting that Leif Erickson Day falls three days before Columbus Day. It’s also fitting for Washington state, as its Nordic population is about 20 percent and was once as high as two-thirds.”

At the urging of Hansen and Washington State Senator Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle – both of whom are of Danish descent – Washington Governor Christine Gregoire has declared October 9, 2006 “Leif Erickson Day.” Sen. Jacobson will later introduce a bill to make Leif Erickson Day a permanent holiday.

Hansen’s love of Vikings began as he was growing up in a Danish family. It ultimately led him to found The Viking Trader™, the premier online provider of high-quality, historically authentic replica artifacts from the Viking age.

“I thank my grandmother for her tales of Viking exploits from the sagas that gave me the sense of wonder that is still with me,” Hansen said. “When my wife and I were consultants, I asked myself ‘What could be more appropriate than being involved in a business that brings the deep personal satisfaction that started from hearing exciting Viking tales in my Danish family?’ Thus was born The Viking Trader.”

The Issaquah-based company’s Web site ( features jewelry made by TURM A/S, the respected Danish silversmith, which has teamed up with Hansen to enhance its international distribution.

TURM A/S makes replica jewelry from molds provided by the Danish National Museum and other Nordic and Scandinavian museums. Unlike other replicas, which are often copies of copies, TURM A/S works are taken directly from items on display. Owing to their authenticity, the pieces were selected by major U.S. museums for display in the Smithsonian Institute-sponsored exhibit “Vikings in the North Atlantic,” which honored the arrival of Leif Erickson and his shipmates in North America more than 1,000 years ago.

Leif Erickson – not Christopher Columbus – was the first European explorer to reach North America. Leif Erickson Day is already celebrated in Illinois with half-hour lessons in state classrooms, and Presidents Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson had previously issued proclamations establishing a national Leif Erickson day. October 9, 2006 will be Leif Erickson Day in Washington state.

About The Viking Trader™

The Viking Trader™ is the premier online provider of high-quality, historically authentic replica artifacts from the Viking age. In addition to authentic Nordic jewelry replicas from TURM A/S, The Viking Trader offers hand-blown Viking Age drinking horns, Norwegian Viking king figurines, Viking chess sets and even Viking-themed mouse pads. The Viking Trader also features remarkable reproductions of the 9th Century A.D. Oseberg Ship tapestry and copies of NOVA’s video “The Vikings,” which aired on PBS to critical acclaim by the public and historians. Hits on the English-language Web site ( have been steadily increasing, and a Spanish-language site is also planned.

About Donald Hansen

Donald Hansen is a member of the Southern California Ravens of Odin Viking re-enactment group. He is frequently invited to speak – in Viking costume – before a variety of museum, college and ethnic groups to “correct the Viking record.” Prior to settling in Seattle, Hansen and his Russian-born wife, Dina, were international management consultants, advising multinational corporations in Europe and Russia. They have lived in Denmark, England, Russia and many other countries.

Click here to read an article in the Seattle Press-Intelligencer about Donald Hansen's efforts to get recognition of Leif Erickson Day in Washington:


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