The Western Settlement (Vestribyggð) was a group of farms and communities established by Norsemen from Iceland around AD 985 in medieval Greenland. Despite its name, the Western Settlement was more north than west of its companion and located at the head of the long Nuup Kangerlua fjord (inland from Nuuk, the present Greenlandic capital).

At its peak, the Western Settlement probably had about 1,000 inhabitants, about a fourth the size of the Eastern Settlement, owing to its shorter growing season. The largest of the Western Settlement farms was Sandnæs. Ruins of almost 95 farms have been found in the Western settlement.

Much less is known about the Western Settlement than the Eastern Settlement, as there is very little mention and no direct description of it in any of the medieval sources on Greenland. The Norse settlement was last mentioned by the traveller Ivar Bardarson, who wrote to the Bishop of Bergen to describe conditions he observed sometime between 1341–60. In his voyage to the Western Settlement, he found only vacant farms.

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Founded: 985 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greenland

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