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Harold the Warrior (The Failed Conquest)

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Harold The Warrior
Harold godwinson by ltf86.jpg
Harold The Warrior
King Of England
Reign 1066-1099
Coronation 6 January 1066
Predecessor Edward The Confessor
Successor Succeeded Twice
Spouse Caris of London
Full name
Harold Godwinson
House The House of Godwin
Father Godwin, Earl of Wessex
Mother Gytha Thorkelsdóttir
Born Wessex, England
Died 1099
London, England
Burial 1099
London, England

Harold Godwinson - also known as Harold Godwin, King Harold, or King Harold the Warrior - was a powerful English king who reigned from 1066 to 1099 AD. The honorific "The Warrior" comes from his many successes in warfare. While he is best known for defeating Edgar in the English Civil War, he also won The Battle of Hastings and defeated the Vikings at Stamford Bridge. Later, he would also fight in The First Crusade and gain the county of Tripoli for England. Additionally, during his reign, he paid an unusual amount of attention to the military, making it arguably the best in Europe at the time.

Despite the name, many of his achievements have nothing to do with the military, or even war. Harold's main achievement outside of warfare was the expansion of trade between England and Europe, especially France and Italy. This improved the economy which helped improve England overall and create a sort of safety net for the years of crisis to come. Lastly, he began to create some small schools, mostly in larger cities. While these were initially exclusively for the rich or people who could pay, they would later expand to form the basis of the English school system

However, despite his many accomplishments, Harold's reign ended badly in the long term. In passing the throne onto his eldest son, he gave the House of Iron leverage to start a downward spiral in terms of stability, shaping the next 400 years of English history. Not only that, but this move would allow William's decedents to on occasion take control of England. On the other hand, blaming Harold for this is controversial - after all, Eldest son succession was traditional, and Harold had no way to foresee the chaos that would follow. All in all, Harold was a powerful, successful, and influential king with a mixed legacy.

Life

Before Hastings

Harold was born in 1066 to Godwin, Earl of Wessex. Throughout his childhood, he was surrounded by much political maneuvering, and by 1045 he became Earl of East Angelia. Of course, this said manuvering would eventually drive him out of his position in 1051. This upset turned out to be temporary and he regained his position within a year. With his power more or less secured, he waited another year for his father to die, at which point he became Earl of Wessex, leaving East Angelia to his younger brother Gyrth. A decade after that, Edward the confessor would die, stating in his last moments that he wanted England to fall into the hands of Harold. The day after, the Witenagemot convened, and gave the position to Harold, Coronating him on 6, January, 1066.

With his rise to power now finished, Harold had to deal with two existential threats to England in his first years. The first was William, who immediately after Harold's coronation had started to plan and gather a fleet for a pontenial invasion of England. While this might have been expected, it needed up going largely unnoticed by Harold, and until September, he went about consolidating his rule over England. The second threat reveled itself in September - the threat being a Norse invasion of the north of England, lead by Harald Hadrada. While initially Harold hoped his Earls would take care of the job, Hadrada's victory over Ediwn and Morcar quickly proved him wrong. Thus, Harold was forced to raise an army and march north, ready to take on Hadrada and the Norse army.

Battle of Hastings

English Civil War

Consolidation and Kingship

Legacy

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