Today on November 30, 1016, the famous Danish viking, Cnut the Great, proclaimed himself King of England.
Cnut the Great, also known as Canute, was one of the most prominent kings of 11th century Europe. He was of Danish descent, and eventually became the King of England, Denmark and Norway. Cnut successfully invaded England in 1016 after a series of battles with the existing Saxon ruler, Edmund Ironside. In October 1016, the conflict came to a head at the Battle of Assandun, located in south-east Essex. After the bloody engagement, Canute and his Danish army were victorious.
In the aftermath, Edmund was forced to sign a treaty and gave half of his territory to Canute. Less than two months after signing the treaty, Edmund suddenly died and Canute assumed full control over all of England, including Wessex. Cnut’s initial actions were ruthless, killing many English nobles and giving their estates to other Nordic vikings. He built a commemorative church at the location of his final victory over Edmund, which still stands today.