Anglo-Saxon England: c. 1000-1066

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  • Anglo-Saxon England: c.1000-1066
    • 1. People at the top of society held power
      • King was chosen by Witan
      • The Earl of Wessex owned the most land and was often made king
      • King's job was to defend the people, raise armies and produce laws
      • Relations between the king, nobles, and churchmen were important to the successful running of Anglo-Saxon England
    • 2. Anglo-Saxon England had a strong system of government
      • The king gave land and influence to nobles, and they gave him loyalty and troops
      • By 1000, Anglo-Saxon England had efficient administration and trade was prosperous
      • England was divided in shires, and the shires were subdivided into hundreds which would provide the king with an army
      • Thegns (lesser nobles) carried out administration for king (tax collecting)
      • By 1000, Anglo-Saxon England was famous for its coinage
    • 3. Vikings threatened peace
      • Kings defended against Vikings by offering Danegeld (Money) - advised by Witan
      • Alfred the Great brought stability and allowed Vikings to settle in North and East England
      • By 980 Vikings started attacking the coasts of England again
    • 4. Trouble at the end of Aethelred's reign
      • Lord's did not believe Aethelred could protect England
      • Witan told him to pay Danegeld to Vikings in 991, but they returned in 994 for more money
      • In 1002, he ordered that all Danes living in England should be killed- unpopular with nobles with Danish subjects
      • In 1013, Sweyn Forkbeard invaded England and Aethelred went into Exile
    • 5. England changed under Cnut and Edward
      • Sweyn died in 1014 and nobles wanted Aethelred back
        • Aethelred died in 1016, and by October Sweyn's son Cnut had conquered England
      • Aethelred died in 1016, and by October Sweyn's son Cnut had conquered England
      • Cnut executed several Anglo-Saxon nobles and gave their land to his followers
      • Cnut divided England into the earldoms Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, and Wessex
      • During Edward the Confessors reign, Godwin, Earl of Wessex was a porblem
        • He and his son were exiled in 1051 for trying to overthrow Edward
          • They returned in 1052 and forced Edward to back down - Godwin effectively became king
            • Edward died without an heir and the Witan chose Godwin's son, Harold Godwinson, to be king


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