Alfred of Wessex and the Making of England

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkEnterprise


It is often erroneously thought that King Alfred of Wessex not only defeated the Vikings but was the first king of England. He was in fact the last king of the English kingdoms. His victory over the Vikings was without doubt an astonishing achievement but Alfred’s military victories were only the beginning since he spent 20 years winning the peace, by means of great private wealth, education, literature and a sophisticated government which propagated a powerful narrative of the English destiny. Alfred held the line against the Vikings but remained what he had always been – king of Wessex. His achievements laid the foundations for his grandson Aethelstan to conquer the Viking territories and declare the first Kingdom of all England, in 927, a generation after Alfred’s death in 899, an event that was by no means inevitable.
Period14 Mar 2024
Held atHistorical Association, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionRegional


  • England
  • King Alfred
  • Medieval
  • Anglo-Saxon
  • Wessex
  • Viking
  • government
  • Rome
  • Christianity
  • invasion
  • culture
  • historiography