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Danes

845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders

29 March

The Siege of Paris and the Sack of Paris of 845 was the culmination of a Viking invasion of the kingdom of the West Franks. The Viking forces were led by a Norse chieftain named “Reginherus”, or Ragnar, who traditionally has been identified with the legendary saga character Ragnar Lodbrok. Ragnar’s fleet of 120 Viking ships, carrying thousands of men, entered the Seine in March and proceeded sailing up the river. The West Frankish king Charles the Bald assembled a smaller army in response, but as the Vikings defeated one division, comprising half of the army, the remaining forces retreated. The Vikings reached Paris at the end of the month, during Easter. After plundering and occupying the city, the Vikings finally withdrew after receiving a ransom payment of 7,000 French livres (2,570 kilograms or 5,670 pounds) of silver and gold from Charles the Bald. Continue reading “845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders”

871 – Æthelred of Wessex fights a Danish invasion force at the Battle of Marton

22 March

The Battle of Marton or Meretum took place on this day in 871 at a place recorded as Marton, perhaps in Wiltshire or Dorset. Æthelred of Wessex had been forced (along with his brother Alfred) into flight following their costly victory against an army of Danish invaders at the Battle of Ashdown. He had retreated to Basing (in Hampshire), where he was again defeated by the forces of Ivar the Boneless. Continue reading “871 – Æthelred of Wessex fights a Danish invasion force at the Battle of Marton”

1710 – The Battle of Helsingborg

28 February

The Battle of Helsingborg fought on this day in 1710, was Denmark’s failed and final attempt to regain the Scanian lands, lost to Sweden in 1658. Continue reading “1710 – The Battle of Helsingborg”

1066 – Harold Godwinson (or Harold II) is crowned King of England

6 January

Harold II (or Harold Godwinson c. 1022 – 14 October 1066) was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. Continue reading “1066 – Harold Godwinson (or Harold II) is crowned King of England”

871 – Battle of Reading: Æthelred of Wessex is defeated by a Danish invasion army

4 January

The first Battle of Reading was a battle on this day in 871 at Reading in what is now the English county of Berkshire. It was one of a series of battles, with honours to both sides, that took place following an invasion of the then kingdom of Wessex by an army of Danes led by Bagsecg and Halfdan Ragnarsson in an attempt to conquer Wessex. Both battle and campaign are described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and this account provides the earliest known written record of the existence of the town of Reading. Continue reading “871 – Battle of Reading: Æthelred of Wessex is defeated by a Danish invasion army”

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