The Vikings perished in Greenland for a number of reasons, but perhaps the main reason was their persistence in trying to establish a European model of civilization in a land quite hostile to the idea. They quickly destroyed a fragile environment through deforestation, soil erosion, and Euro-ethnocentrism which attempted to destroy an indigenous culture, the Inuit, since it was considered inferior. Had they learned from the Inuit, instead of trying to destroy them, Vikings would have discovered the advantage of building with snow instead of stones and lumber, heating with whale instead of wood, eating fish instead of failing with cows and sheep. After a few hundred years of a failed attempt to reproduce Europe in Greenland, they were eventually defeated and erased. However Vikings did what European colonialists have always done...try to recreate Europe. Thus, we have today the European culture in the Americas, India, and Australia. Areas late for colonization...Africa and Asia still have a slight European aura such as the British in South Africa and the French in Vietnam.
All of this makes today a very unusual moment in European history. Now its culture has ceased dominating the earth and has retreated. Indeed, it is now actually being overwhelmed on its own continent with a large Muslim minority reproducing at incredible rates through migration and birth.
A disturbing time for the European identity...an exciting time for Islam. Is Europe the new Byzantium of the 21st century? Will its culture be as invisible in a century as the Byzantine culture is absent in modern Turkey? Or will there be a Christian religious and politically enlightened renaissance?