Unification under Wessex
At the end of the 9th century, England was divided: the north was under the Danelaw, the south and south-west were under English rule. The decades which followed after the end of King Alfred's reign (the first half of the 10th century), are usually referred to by historians as the period of the re-conquest of the Danelaw by Alfred's successors. There were multiple times of conflict and struggle, but at the end of Eadred's reign, in 955, the north was under English control.
Alfred's first successor, his son Edward the Elder, who reigned from 899 to 924, conducted a long campaign to expand his kingdom. At the end of the year 918, he had brought the whole of England south of the river Humber under his control. In 920 the kings of York, Scotland and Strathclyde submitted to Edward, so that West-Saxon rule had been extended further north.
Edward the Elder was succeeded by his son Athelstan in 924, who reigned until 939; his reign was characterised by his attempts to secure English control over the north. On the one hand, he arranged Anglo-Scandinavian marriages in order to support peaceful relationships with the north, on the other hand, he won decisive battles, as in 937 at Brunanburh when, together with his brother Edmund, he stopped a combined Scottish-Viking army that had penetrated deep into England.
Athelstan died in 939 and was succeeded by his younger brother Edmund. Edmund's reign (939-946) was a time of continued conflicts in the north, and of changing military fortune.
Edmund was succeeded by his brother Eadred in 946, who at first was acknowledged in the Anglo-Scandinavian areas; at the end of Eadred's reign, in 955, the north was under English control again.
|History, Danelaw, Old English Period, Political, Vikings|