Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred & Other Contemporary Sources Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Introduction, Section I, King Alfred the Great

• King Alfred the Great ruled England from 871 to 899 A.D. During his reign, Wessex was safe from Viking conquest, which ultimately led to English unification.

• Not much is known about the time period except that a Viking army invaded England in 865, taking over a number of smaller kingdoms. Alfred was the king of Wessex, and came to rule the West Saxons in 871, while they were under siege.

• After defeating the Vikings in 878 and ensuring the freedom of Wessex, Alfred focused on reform, created a defense system for the kingdom, changing governmental procedures, and starting institutions of learning.

• The Viking army returned in 892, but Alfred's defenses were successful.

• The Vikings were repelled by 896, and Alfred spent the rest of his reign on reform.

• He allowed his successors to extend their power over areas once endangered by the Vikings, which is what led...

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