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Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great (849–99) King of Wessex (871–99). A warrior and scholar, Alfred saved Wessex from the Danes and laid the foundations of a united English kingdom. After the Danish invasion of 878, he escaped to Athelney in Somerset, returning to defeat the Danes at Edington and recover the kingdom. In a pact with the Danish leader, Guthrum (who accepted Christian baptism), England was roughly divided in two; the Danelaw occupying the ne. Although he controlled only Wessex and part of Mercia, Alfred's leadership was widely recognized throughout England after his capture of London (886). To strengthen Wessex against future attack, he built a fleet of ships, constructed forts, and reorganized the army.

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