Although religion and religious motives were thus directly or indirectly the dominant features of the travel of this period, they were not the only ones, and if the spirit of exploration was almost dormant in the lands about the Mediterranean, it was very much alive in northern Europe. Beginning at first in piratical raids to the southward along the rich coasts of France and Spain, the Vikings, the “men of the fiords,” after a time turned their attention westward, and in the spirit of true discovery pushed out into the unknown Atlantic. Here they first reached Iceland, then Greenland, and at last in the eleventh century the northern shores of America. In the sagas the records of many of these voyages are preserved, and in the Saga of Eric the Red〖H. C., xliii, 5.〗 we have the first account, albeit a meager one, of the New World.

Following close upon this activity of the Norsemen in the north of Europe there begins a new period, in which there is a great revival of interest in travel among the nations farther south. This was in part a continuation of the religious travel of the previous period, now transformed into the militancy of the Crusaders; in part due to political events occurring far away in China; and in part to a great and rapid development of trade. So far as the Crusaders are concerned they may be considered largely as military pilgrims who sought to drive the Moslem conqueror from the holy places of their faith. Like the peaceful pilgrims of an earlier age, they were inflamed by a great purpose which kept their eyes and thoughts upon their goal. They have left, it is true, considerable in the way of record, but as travelers their importance falls far behind others of a different type.

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