Three Viking Generations That Ruled England

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Three Viking Generations That Ruled England

Back to the Viking Age, the Vikings travelled around and plunder the neighbouring kingdoms. One of them was the Anglo-Saxon, a group of people inhabiting Great Britain at that time. In Viking history, there were three generations of a Viking family that ruled over a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon.

Sweyn Forkbeard - Son of King Harald Bluetooth

It was the family of Sweyn Forkbeard a Viking legendary hero and son of King Harald Bluetooth the first Viking King of United Denmark. Harald Bluetooth claimed himself to unite Denmark under the same banner as well as converted the Danes into Christianity. Harald Bluetooth had many sons and one of them was Sweyn Forkbeard who was brought up by Palnatoke who hated Harald Bluetooth for his religious conversion. 

Sweyn Forkbeard succeeded his father Harald Bluetooth to become the King of Denmark

Sweyn Forkbeard succeeded as the King of Denmark

Palnatoke and Sweyn Forkbeard then carried out an uprising against Harald Bluetooth and it turned out to be a successful campaign sending Harald Bluetooth into exile. After overthrowing his father, Sweyn Forkbeard became King of Denmark and Norway. 

Reign over England

In 1002, Saxon King Aethelred the Unready carried out a massacre killing all the Danes in his kingdom. It is now known as the Massacre of St Brice's Day. It was said that King Aethelred killed Gunnhild the sister of Sweyn Forkbeard in this massacre. On hearing the news, Sweyn assembled his army and quickly arrived at Wessex kingdom of Aethelred. But only after more than a decade later did Sweyn Forkbeard finally push King Aethelred into exile and claiming himself the King of England on Christmas Eve 1013.

Unfortunately, Sweyn Forkbeard died on 3rd Feb 1014, after five weeks of reign in England.

Cnut the Great

The body of Sweyn was brought back to his homeland and got buried there. His elder son, Harald II of Denmark succeeded him as the King of Denmark while the younger son, Cnut Sweynsson declared himself King of England. 

But Cnut was quickly overthrown by the force of returning Aethelred in 1014. Very soon in 1016, Cnut came back and managed to restore himself as the king of England by the death of Aethelred and his son. 

King Cnut the Great succeeded his father Sweyn Forkbeard to become the King of England

Cnut the Great

In Denmark, the brother of Cnut, Harald II, died in 1018 leaving Cnut the throne of Denmark. Because of this, Cnut became the king of England, Denmark, Norway, and some other Scandinavian regions. 

Harold Harefoot and Harthacnut

Cnut the Great and his sons including Harold Harefoot and Harthacnut ruled over the Saxon kingdom of Wessex for nearly 30 years. Cnut's reign in England lasted from 1016 to 1035 and was succeeded by Harold who reigned from 1035 to 1040. After five years as a Viking Saxon king, Harold died leaving the throne for his brother Harthacnut. This son of Cnut held the power from 1040 until the return of Wessex royal return. Harthacnut died in 1042. He was believed to have been executed by dragged in a marsh and thrown into Thames river. Thanks to a fisherman, Harthacnut's body was brought to the Danes.

Harold Harefoot's coin

Harold Harefoot's coins

After the death of Harthacnut, Magnus I took control of Denmark and Edward the Confessor son of King Aethelred succeeded as the King of England. Harthacnut was the last Scandinavian king who ruled over England. 

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