Egbert was born around the year 770 and died in 839. Having been accepted as King of Essex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex and for a short time Mercia, he has been referred to as the first King of all England.
In 789 Egbert was forced into exile, and may have spent some of his time in the court of Charlemagne. He returned a few years later (possibly having married a daughter of Charlemagne) and succeeded Beorhtric (who was one of those responsible for his exile) as King of Wessex in 802.
Egbert removed Wessex from the Mercian confederation, and eventually defeated Beornwulf of Mercia in 825. He was proclaimed "Bretwalda", or King of all England, in 829, but lost Mercia to Wiglaf in 830.
In 836 Egbert suffered a further military setback, being defeated by the Danes. However, he defeated them and their allies, the West Welsh, in 838. He died soon after in 839, and was succeeded by his son Aethelwulf.
He should also be remembered as initiating (at the behest of his wife Redburga) England's policy on immigration, by passing a law forbidding, on pain of death, any Welshman from crossing Offa's Dyke.