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  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

The name used in English history for those *Vikings who conquered the eastern and northern parts of England in the 9C, and who came mainly from Denmark and Norway.

Spasmodic coastal raids throughout the early 9C were followed by full-scale conquest (from 865) of the *Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Northumbria and East Anglia, with inroads into Mercia. Danish control of the whole of England looked probable until their advance was halted by *Alfred the Great.

The result was that they were contained to the north of a line running roughly from London to Chester, and by the early 10C they had accepted the overlordship of the newly established kings of England (see *Wessex). The area in which the Danes had settled became known as Danelaw. The chief town within Danelaw was Nottingham, others of importance being Leicester, Stamford, Derby and Lincoln.

The first half of the 10C saw relatively peaceful coexistence between Danelaw and southern England, but from 980 there were renewed Danish invasions on English coasts. This time the invaders were temporarily bought off with the payment known as *Danegeld. Then, in 1013, the Danish king Sweyn I invaded and conquered the entire country.

Under his son and grandson, *Canute and Harthacanute, England and Denmark were joined as one kingdom. Danish rule ended with the succession to the throne in 1042 of *Edward the Confessor, though there now began the intrusion of a different group of Viking descendants, the *Normans. The last Danish invasion was in the same year as the Norman Conquest; in September 1066 Harold Hardraade landed on the east coast and was defeated at Stamford Bridge by *Harold II, who died the following month at the Battle of Hastings. But Danish influence survived in many ways (the 'ridings' of Yorkshire, for example, date back to their rule), and in Norman times Danelaw was still the term for the entire eastern section of England where Danish laws and customs prevailed.

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