Kingdom of Wessex

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Definition

The Kingdom of Wessex (c. 519-927 CE or c. 519-1066 CE) was a political entity founded by the West Saxon Chieftain Cerdic (r. 519-540 CE) in 519 CE in the Upper Thames Valley of modern-day Britain which would later evolve into the modern nation. The difference in dates concerning the end of the kingdom has to do with whether one accepts the final year as coinciding with Athelstan of Wessex becoming King of England in 927 CE (and uniting all the kingdoms under his rule) or prefers the date of the Norman Invasion of England of 1066 CE when William the Conqueror arrived. There is no consensus on one date being more accurate than the other in scholarly circles but after Athelstan became King of England, the Kingdom of Wessex ended as an independent polity and so 927 CE should be recognized as its end-date.

More about: Kingdom of Wessex

Timeline

  • 519 - 927
    Duration of the Kingdom of Wessex in Britain.
  • 519 - 540
    Reign of Cerdic, first king of Wessex.
  • 540 - 560
    Reign of Cerdic's son (or grandson) Cynric who expands realm of Wessex.
  • 560 - 592
    Reign of King Ceawlin in Wessex.
  • 592 - 597
    Reign of the king Ceol in Wessex.
  • 597 - 611
    Reign of King Ceolwulf in Wessex.
  • 611 - 643
    Reign of Cynegils in Wessex; first West Saxon king to convert to Christianity and be baptized.
  • 611 - 643
    Wessex loses territory, power, and prestige to Mercia during the reign of Cynegils.
  • 628
    Wessex defeated by Mercia at the Battle of Cirenchester.
  • 643 - 645
    Reign of Cenwalh in Wessex.
  • 645 - 648
    Mercia rules Wessex after Cenwalh deposed and driven into exile.
  • 648 - 673
    Cenwalh returns from exile and resumes rule in Wessex.
  • 674
    Ceanwalh's widow Seaxburh rules Wessex; only female ruler of the region.
  • 674 - 676
    Aescwine reigns as king of Wessex; defeats Mercia at Battle of Bedwyn.
  • 675
    Battle of Bedwyn; King Aescwine of Wessex defeats Mercian army, reclaims Wessex's territory.
  • 676 - 685
    Reign of King Centwine in Wessex.
  • 685 - 688
    Caedwalla reigns in Wessex; expands region through military conquest.
  • 688 - 726
    King Ine reigns in Wessex; issues early comprehensive law code.
  • 726 - 740
    Reign of Aethelheard in Wessex.
  • 740 - 756
    Reign of King Cuthred who reestablishes Wessex's primacy in region.
  • 756 - 757
    Reign of Sigeberht in Wessex. .
  • 757 - 786
    Reign of Cynewulf in Wessex. .
  • 786 - 802
    Reign of Beorhtric in Wessex; Mercia dominates Wessex during his reign.
  • 802 - 839
    Reign of King Egbert of Wessex, Ruler of Britain; Wessex dominates region. .
  • 825
    Battle of Ellandun; Egbert of Wessex defeats Beornwulf of Mercia.
  • 839 - 858
    Reign of Aethelwulf in Wessex; Viking raids repelled.
  • 855 - 860
    Reign of Aethelbald, son of Aethelwulf;Viking raids continue.
  • 860 - 865
    Reign of Aethelberht, son of Aethelwulf, in Wessex; Viking raids continue.
  • 865 - 871
    Reign of Aethelred, son of Aethelwulf, in Wessex; Viking raids continue.
  • 871 - 899
    Reign of Alfred the Great in Wessex; Vikings defeated at Eddington and London; Wessex becomes major power in the region.
  • 878
    The Battle of Eddington; Alfred the Great defeats Viking forces.
  • 886
    Alfred the Great subdues Vikings of London. .
  • 899 - 924
    Reign of Edward the Elder in Wessex; Mercia annexed. .
  • 924 - 927
    Reign of Athelstan as King of the Anglo-Saxons before becoming first King of England.
  • 937
    The Battle of Brunanburh; Athelstan defeats coalition from Britain, Ireland, and Scotland;consolidates rule.
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