Edward the Elder

Date Of Birth:
ca. 870
Date Of Death:
Best Known As:
King of Wessex and the Anglo-Saxons, 899-924
Edward became the king of the Anglo-Saxons after his father Alfred the Great died in 899. He is known to posterity as Edward the Elder (a name applied a century after his death). Edward became king upon Alfred’s death, but spent the first two years of his reign fighting off his cousin Aethelwald’s claim to the throne. Edward’s problem ended when Aethelwald was killed in battle in 902. Less historically appreciated than his father, Edward the Elder was nonetheless a key figure in the foundation of Anglo-Saxon rule over England. A keen strategist, Edward took control of Mercia in 918 after the death of his sister, Aethelflaed (“Lady of the Mercians” and ruler after her husband’s death). He also subdued Northumbria, the Scots and Welsh Britons, and he brought Danelaw south of the Humber under Anglo-Saxon control. Edward continued Alfred’s program of building strategic fortresses and died in 924 having consolidated his rule over most of what became England. He was succeeded by his son, Aethelstan.
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