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Trump‘s ancestors among the Viking age settlers of Iceland, scholars believe

By Staff

  • The Lewis Chessmen Found on the Isle of Lewis, the Lewis chessmen are believed to have been carved in Iceland. Donald Trump can also trace his ancestry to the Isle of Lewis, His ancestor Tormod MacLeod, or Þormóður Ljótsson, was a 13th century descendant of the same Vikings who settled Iceland. Photo/Getty Images.

Donald Trump, the President elect of the United States, likely has relatives in Iceland, according to two Icelandic scholars. Agnar Helgason, working on genetic anthropology with DeCode genetics and Magnús Jónsson, a historian, point out that many of the Viking age settlers of Iceland came from the Hebrides of Scotland, the same region as Donald Trump‘s family.

Read more: Celtic influence on the Icelandic language and culture is likely greater than previously believed

The Hebrides, or „The South Islands“, as they are known in the Sagas, were settled by Norse Vikings in the eight and ninth centuries. Countless place names in the islands still point to this Norse connection. Donald Trump‘s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod is from the largest of the Hebrides, the Isle of Lewis. The family of Mary can be traced back to a local chief, a man called Ljótur. Ljótur was a fairly common name in old Norse and saga age Iceland, but has disappeared in modern Icelandic. It translates as „ugly“. The Scotified version of Ljótur is Leod. 

Trump, mother Mary Anne MacLeod, sister Elizabeth Trump

Descendants of Þormóður Ljótsson Donald Trump with sister Elizabeth (left) and mother Mary Anne MacLeod (right). Photo/Getty Images

Ljótur had two sons, Þorkell and Þormóður, who is the ancestor of Mary Anne MacLeod and thus Donald Trump. Þormóður Ljótsson, or Þormóður the son of Ljótur, is known as Tormod MacLeod in Scottish sources. 

This is the second connection to surface between Trump and Icelandic vikings. During the presidential campaign it was revealed that prior to the 2008 crash Trump's had been involved in a shady failed business deal with Icelandic Corporate Vikings. 

Read more: Failed Donald Trump Tower included busted Icelandic Investment Company FL Group as key partner

In an interview with the local TV station Stöð 2, Agnar Helgason, who works on anthropological genetics at DeCode in Iceland, points out that a significant number of the settlers of Iceland, came from the Scottish Isles, especially the Hebrides. Two genetic markers, carried by women, are especially important, as these can only be found in Iceland and the Hebrides, indicating that women from the Scottish isles were numerous among the settlers of Iceland.

Magnús Jónsson, historian, also points out that countless place names, especially in the South West near Reykjavík, can also be found on the Isle of Lewis, indicating that the Viking age settlers of Iceland had strong connections to the area where the ancestral roots of Trump lie.

While neither Agnar nor Magnús are willing to conclude Trump is related to modern Icelanders, they acknowledge that since a large number of the settler of Iceland can be traced to the Hebrides and the Isle of Lewis, some would likely have been related to the ancestors of Donald Trump. „Whether this makes us related to Donald Trump, is not obvious, but that could well be the case“, Agnar concludes.

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