Alfred the Great

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Alfred the Great (848-899), son of Aethelwulf, was king of Wessex from 871-899. He came to the throne at a time when all of England was under enormous threat from the Danes. Unlike his contemporaries in Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia however, he not only survived, he also managed to strike back effectively at the invading forces, and secure a period of relative peace and culture.

Ascending to the throne in 871 Alfred was already experienced in campaigns against the Danes. With his forces disorganised Alfred offered tribute to the Danes in return for departure. Based on previous events the Danes were certain to invade later, but in the end Alfred managed to buy five valuable years of peace.

In 876 Danish forces led by Guthrum attacked Dorset and the Devon coast. After inconclusive fighting, Guthrum marched north in 878.

(Note: to be continued. - Conrad Leviston)