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Harold Sigurdsson

Harold Sigurdsson (d. 1066), king of Norway. Harold, the half-brother of St Olaf, was the last great Viking invader of England. Nicknamed ‘Hardrada’—stern in council—and a man of great stature and strength, he joined forces in 1066 with Tostig, Harold II Godwineson's exiled brother. Harold Hardrada claimed the throne of England and Tostig was to be restored to his earldom of Northumbria. He may have been misled by Tostig into counting on more support in England than he found. His great fleet touched at the Orkneys, moved south to the Tyne to join with Tostig, and then entered the Humber, menacing York. The local earls, Edwin and Morcar, were defeated at Fulford, just outside York, but five days later the victorious Norsemen were attacked at Stamford Bridge by Harold, who had led a forced march from the south. After bloody fighting, Harold Hardrada and Tostig were killed. Three days after the victory, William of Normandy landed near Hastings.

J. A. Cannon

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