King Canute

Canute, the son of Sweyn Forkbeard and his Polish wife, in about 996. Canute accompanied his father when they attempted to conquer England in 1013. On his father's death he withdrew to Denmark where his elder brother had inherited the throne. Canute returned with his army in 1015 and although he failed the capture London, he controlled the rest of England.

Ethelred the Unready died in April 1016, and was replaced by his son Edmund Ironside. Canute defeated Edmund at the battle of Ashington in Essex. Soon afterwards, Canute became the undisputed king of England when he banished or executed all possible claimants to the throne.

In 1017 Cunate divided his kingdom into four earldoms - Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia and Wessex. Whereas he chose Danes as earls of Northumbria and East Anglia, he appointed the Anglo-Saxon, Godwin as Earl of Wessex.

Later that year he married Ethelred's widow, Emma of Normandy. They later had a son, Hardicanute. Canute inherited the throne of Denmark from his brother in 1018. By 1030 he was also king of Norway.

While out of England he left Thorkell the Tall in charge of the country. However, the two men quarrelled in 1021 and Thorkell was banished from England.

Canute brought firm government to England and security from external threat. He died in Shaftesbury in 1035 and was interred in Winchester Cathedral.

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