The Anglo-Saxon period (5th -11th cc.)
Anglo-Saxon (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) were Germanic tribes living in today’s northern Germany and Denmark. They had already started attacking the south coast of Britain in the 3rd century, but in the 5th century they conquered and settled, the whole of today’s England. They destroyed the Romano-British civilization and established their own, agricultural one.
In the course of the 6th century, a number of rather unstable kingdons arose in England. Four of them successively held supremacy over the others: Kent, Northumbria, Mercia and finally Wessex
Christianity reached Enland from Ireland anf from Rome at the end of the 6th century. It played a highly important role in establishing medieval society and in developing the statehood in England: the Churche served as the model for feudal kingdoms and gave kingship a scared character.
England was finally united under the kings of Wessex in the 10th century. Danish Vikings had conquered a large part of north-eastern Enladn and created a confederation of Scandinavian communities called Danelaw (878-975) there. Alfred the Great of Wessex (871-900) defeated the Danes and his successors reconquered the Danelaw in the 10th century. However, a new Danish invasion shattered Enland in 978. In 1026, Canute (11016-35), the King of Denmark and Norway, became the first king of a fully united England. His Scandinavian Empire, however, broke up under his incompetent successors and the saxon heir, Edward the Confessor (1042-66), was restored to the throne of Enland.
Edward unwittingly prepared the way for the Norman Conquest; he introduced Norman nobles into high state offices and left behind a disputed succession. After his death, Harold, son of the mightiest Enlish nobleman, was chosen to becom king. But the Duke of Normandy and the King of Norway claimed the Enlish throne too, and both of them attaked Enland almost simultaneously in 1066. Harold defeated the Norsemen, but he was himself defeated and killed in the battle of hastings in October 1066 by William of Normandy, who succeeded him on the Enlish throne.
The Norman Conquest had been completed by 1069, and it had far-reaching consequences for the development of Enland;
Enland’s relations with scandinavia were cut off and the ocuntry came under French cultural influence; three languages were used in Enland: Norman-French, the language of the ruling aristocracy and law courts: latin, the language of educated people and English, spoken by common Englishmen
England was given a new, Norman French king and ruling class
The country was reorganised into a strong feufal state protected by the Nlish channel, as a result, no further conquests have since occurred.
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