Many people must have heard about the Danish king of England, Canute but have you heard about Sweyn Forkbeard?
Sweyn Forkbeard was the first Viking King of England and the father of Canute. According to Historic-Uk, he was known as England’s forgotten king as he ruled for only five weeks. In 1013, on Christmas day he was declared as the king and ruled till 3rd February 1014, when he died. As per the Historic-Uk, he was never coronated.
Sweden’s long beard, cleft beard gave him the named Forkbeard. He was the son of the King of Denmark, Harald Bluetooth. Forkbeard lived in a brutal time and was a violent warlord who campaigned against his own father. After defeating his father, he led multiple campaigns of brutal power and destruction over the years in England.
The king of England, Ethelred the Unready, then decided to pay Sweyn to leave England in peace but he continued to raid and some Danish even began to settle there. In order to protect England, Ethelred ordered a general massacre on St. Brice’s Day, November 13th 1002 of all Danes in the country. Gunhilde, Sweyn’s sister was killed with the others, as per the site.
There were series of plundering attacks to avenge the killed and on and off raids by Sweyn over the years, however, in 1013 he invaded England with full force and landed in Sandwich, today’s Kent. His rampage throughout England made the English locals reluctantly accept him as the king while Ethelred fled into exile to the Isle of Wight and later to Normandy, according to Historic-Uk.
The proclaimed king Sweyn Forkbeard suddenly died at his capital, Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. The cause of his death is uncertain.
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