Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Canada Millennium 1 : L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

[This is the first in a series of posts profiling each of the 68 stamps issued by Canada Post Corporation on September 15, 1999 on the occasion of the new Millennium.]

L'Anse aux Meadows at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland was the site of the first European settlement in North America.

Vikings, led by Leif Eriksson, wintered at a settlement called Straumfiord near present-day l'Anse aux Meadows about one thousand years ago. Eriksson's family and other colonists visited the camp and explored the region as far as southwest of New Brunswick but returned to Greenland after ten years due to conflicts with Aboriginal people.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 1978, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added l'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site to its World Heritage List. The list recognizes  natural and cultural places of outstanding universal importance. To date, over 900 properties have been identified as having outstanding universal value, including: 
  • The Galapagos Islands, in Ecuador
  • The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, in Peru
  • Paris — the Banks of the Seine, in France
  • The Acropolis, in Greece
  • Stonehenge, in the United Kingdom
  • The Great Barrier Reef, in Australia 
L'Anse aux Meadows is one of only 17 World Heritage sites located in Canada.

Discoverers of the Settlement : Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad (1960)

Norwegian explorer and writer Helge Instad and his wife, archeologist Anne Stine Ingstad discovered the site in 1960. Between 1961 and 1968, Anne Stine Ingstad led an excavation of the settlement with an international team of archaeologists from Sweden, Iceland, Canada, U.S. and Norway. Remains of the 11th century Viking settlement consisting of timber-framed turf buildings (houses, workshops, etc.) that were identical with those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland at the same period were found.

Bronze, ring-headed pin of the kind Norsemen used to fasten their cloaks found at L'Anse aux Meadows

Parks Canada :  L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada

Recreation of Viking Settlement

Visitors to l'Anse aux Meadows can learn about the Norse Settlement by touring the visitor centre and seeing the many artifacts excavated from the site. The actual site of the settlement can be viewed as well as recreations of the sod houses.  When walking the trails today, it is not difficult to imagine the isolation that the Vikings must have felt a millennium ago.

 The bay at l'Anse aux Meadows


Millennium Stamp Formats

1.  Millennium Collection Album

The 68 Millennium stamps were first issued in a hardbound book, Canada Post The Millennium Collection : Expressions of a People, on September 15, 1999. The stamps were printed perforated with two stamps per page.

The L'Anse aux Meadows and Pier 21 stamps were printed on the same page.

2. Millennium Collection Souvenir Sheet

Canada Post Corporation re-issued the Millennium stamps in panes of 4 stamps (recognized by stamp catalogues) issued over a three month period from December 17, 1999 to March 17, 2000.  The souvenir sheet with the L'Anse aux Meadows stamp was released on  February 17, 2000.

Millennium Stamp Collection

1. WikipediaCanada Post Millennium Stamps
(This site describes the stamps and provides links to article dealing with each subject.)

2. Postal History Corner articles: