Danish Line -- Reigned: 1016-1035
With the death of his father Svein Forkbeard, Canute (Knut Sveinsson) withdrew from England to Denmark. There, he gathered his forces, came back to England in 1015 and took control of virtually the whole country, except for the city of London.
At the death of Æthelred II, in 1016, the Londoners chose Edmund II as their king, but the Witan had chosen Canute. A series of engagements with Edmund followed, with Canute defeating Edmund at Ashington, Essex. A treaty was made between them calling for a partition of England, which would continue in force until one of their deaths, at which time all lands would revert to the survivor. Canute had only a month to wait to become king, since Edmund II died in November of 1016.
Canute consolidated his power by eliminating all claimants to the throne from the House of Wessex, through either banishment or execution. He had a son by his English mistress Ælgifu, Harald Harefoot, who would be regent at Canute's death and then, king for a short time. Canute got rid of his mistress and took Æthelred's widow, Emma, to be his lawfully wedded wife. Their union produced a legitimate son, Hardicanute, who would later rule as Canute II.
Canute's reign was a strong and effective one. He brought with him security from foreign invasion and he ruled justly and well. He was considered a friend of the English church and was generous toward it. At his death, he was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
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