In the mid 9th century, Vikings in Norway and Scotland as well as in the Orkney and Shetland Islands, turned their attention to uninhabited islands reported further west - first the Faeroe Islands, then Iceland, and later Greenland. In these virgin and delicate island ecosystems, the Viking settlers had a sudden, dramatic impact on the environment by cutting down forests, hunting unsuspecting wildlife, and introducing new animals and plants. This process was known as landnám, literally “land-taking.”
These hearty settlers came from all over the Viking world, and brought with them new ideas about everything from house building to law, creating a unique culture known as Norse. Sagas, an innovative literature found only in Iceland, were a blending of Viking oral poetry and storytelling with Christian and Irish written traditions.