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The 9th century Viking conquest and subsequent norse settlement of northern England reshaped the English landscape and culture. Place names of Scandinavian origin are found throughout the old Danelaw; the Norse and Anglo-Saxon languages began to merge, beginning the transformation into the English language of today.

The center of power of the Danelaw was the fomer capital of Deira, Eoforwic, which the Viking settlers called Jorvik, and which is called York today.

The squabbles between Anglo-Saxon kings Osberht and Aelle of Northumbria provided an opportunity for the sons of king Ragnar of Dublin to go viking. These were no mere raids this time; they were intent on conquest and settlement. In 865, the brothers Halfdan, Hubba, and Ivarr the Boneless captured part of East Anglia; they pushed into the Five Boroughs and Northumbria by 866; and an 867 sack of York, despite Aelle and Osberht's joining forces against them, ended the Kingdom of Northumbria for good.

The conquerers set up a new kingdom based in 'Jorvik'; they and their descendants ruled the area for the next 60 years. The actual kingdom appears to have extended only as far as the old kingdom of Deira (modern Yorkshire); the Anglo-Saxon earls of Bernicia appeared to have some measure of independence, as aneurin describes in Lordship of Bamburgh.

Ivarr went back to rule Dublin, and Halfdan travelled about attacking Mercia and Strathclyde, leaving puppet Saxon kings in charge.

  • Egbert (867-872) was expelled in an uprising and replaced with
  • Ricsig(872-876)
  • Egbert II (876-878)
  • Halfdan I (875-877) returned in 875 and ended the pretense, setting himself up as king, but he appears to have been killed in Ireland only two years later. The events after Halfdan's death appear not to have been recorded; some suggest that the earls of Bernicia may have had control until 883. At any rate, the events of the next 20 years are murky at best.
  • Guthfrith (883-895) got into power with the support of the Abbot of Carlisle, and was king in 886 when Alfred the Great of Wessex made his treaty with Guthrum of East Anglia establishing the Danelaw, of which the Kingdom of Jorvik ws a part. Someone suggests that this was actually an (Saxon) earl 'Guthred' of Bernicia. OF course, Guthfrith, Guthrum, and Guthred may all be the same person!
  • Sigfrith (895-900?)
  • Cnut (900?-902?)
  • Danish kings Eowild and Halfdan II were around in 902 when the Irish expelled the Vikings from Dublin for good. The refugees settled in Jorvik and Mercia, where their restlessness caused Wessex (which had reconquered Mercia by then) to consider expanding into "Northumbria" again. Edward the Elder dispatched them at the Battle of Tettenhall in 910.
  • Ragnald (910-921) was another refugee from Ireland, a refugee with an army. Edward regouped and returned to south of the Humber, meanwhile absorbing East Anglia. One by one, however, Ragnald's jarls submitted to Edward, and his kingdom soon consisted of little more than York.
  • Sihtric "the Blind" (921 - 927) held Edward and his successor Athelstan at arm's length, but his successor
  • Guthfrith (927) was quickly expelled by
  • Aethelstan of Wessex (927-939), who had been acknowledged king of all England at a 927 meeting of nothern Saxon lords, and the King of Scotland, at Eamont Bridge. Things get a bit complicated from here; it's hard to tell whether 'Jorvik' ended and 'Northumbria' reappeared as a province of Wessex.
  • Edmund I of Wessex (939) was not particularly well-liked by the mostly-Viking-descended inhabitants of "Northumbria", which is why they allowed Olaf Guthfrithson to lead another army from Dublin and take York again.
  • Olaf Githfrithson (940) decided to extend the borders of his new kingdom, taking parts of the Midlands. He died, or was killed whie trying to take Edinburgh.
  • Olaf Sihtricson (940-943) was elected king but lost the Five Boroughs his cousin had conquered, so he was replaced by
  • Ragnald (943-944)
  • Edmund I (944-946) got tired of the squabling between Olaf and Ragnald and retook Northumbria for himself.
  • Eric Bloodaxe's personality alone was enough to get him elected after Edmund's assassination in 946, but Edmund's successor,
  • Eadred had little trouble forcing him out. However, he decided Northumbria was too much trouble and appointed
  • Olaf Sihtricson (946-952) as a sub-king. The Northumbrians didn't like Olaf and kicked him out, replacing him with the ever-popular
  • Eric Bloodaxe (952-954), who was not very popular for long; another uprising saw the last independent Viking ruler in the North betrayed and killed, and Eadred acknowledged ruler.

Most of this, of course is a reconstruction from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle but other documents such as the Annals of Ulster appear to provide some information.

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