Tag Archives: Denmark
On the 13th November 1002, the St Brice’s Day Massacre took place when king Æthelred the Unready “ordered slain all the Danish men who were in England”. Although it is believed that there was considerable loss of life, actual numbers of Danes who were killed following the order are unknown. However, recent archaeological excavations including two mass graves have begun to shed some light on the mystery.
Æthelred came to the throne when he was just 10 years old, following the assassination of his half-brother Edward the Martyr, who he succeeded. Suspicions over Æthelred’s involvement led to distrust of the new king, and meant that he did not secure the full loyalty of all his subjects. Danes already dominated large areas of northern and eastern England in what became known as the Danelaw, where Danes had practised self-rule since 878. However, they were able to exploit the divisions among Æthelred’s subjects by launching raids against coastal towns in southern England from 990 onwards. By 997 they were attacking Æthelred’s kingdom every year.
Æthelred paid significant amounts of silver and gold to the Danes as Danegeld, ‘Dane-payment’ in an attempt to stop the attacks but, in 1002 received information that the Danes planned to “beshrew him of his life, and afterwards all his council, and then have his kingdom without any resistance.” In response, Æthelred ordered the killing of all Danes in England, although it is unlikely that the killing extended into the Danelaw. For Æthelred, the massacre had little effect but to provoke a brutal retaliation by Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark, who invaded the following year.
Although this revision podcast covers a much shorter period of time than the previous episodes in the series, the sequence of events that led to the creation of the North German Confederation laid the foundation for the unification of Germany just five years later. This podcast begins with the introduction of Von Roon’s army reforms and the appointment of Bismarck to the role of Chancellor. It then goes on to explain how Bismarck refined his system of Realpolitik through the Polish Revolt, the Schleswig-Holstein Crisis and the Danish War which in turn led to the Convention of Gastein. This episode ends with the Austro-Prussian War and the Peace of Prague – the final stage in Prussia’s subjugation of Austria – and the creation of the North German Confederation.
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