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Anglo-Saxon London

About Anglo-Saxon London

The history of London during the Sub-Roman “Dark Age” or the period from around 450AD to 600AD is not very clear in the absence of any reliable evidence. Early Anglo-Saxon settlement is believed to have avoided the area immediately around Londinium. There is however evidence of occupation although on a small scale on both sides of the river Thames. Although there is no contemporary literary evidence, but archaeologists believe that the area must for some time have been an active frontier between Saxons and Britons.

Anglo-Saxon London Timeline

London had fallen into a decline after the Romans left in the 5th century. But its location on the Thames was too good for this decline to continue, and the 7th century saw trade booming once more. This brought prosperity to the city and helped the city rise again.

By the 9th century, London became a very prosperous trading centre. Its wealth and prosperity attracted the attention of Danish Vikings. The Danes periodically sailed up the Thames and attacked London. In 851 some 350 longboats full of Danes attacked and burned London to the ground. The tale of London in the next century is very dynamic, with first English, then Danish, then Norman kings controlling the city. Alfred the Great ousted the Danes from the city by in 886 and made London a part of his kingdom of Wessex. However, after his death the city fell once again into the hands of the Danes.

During this time, London slowly started consolidating its position as the most prosperous and largest city in the island of Britain and also the most important. However, in spite of its importance as a commercial center and its prosperity, London did not become the capital of the kingdom. The official seat of the government was at Winchester, although the royal residence was generally at London.

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