King of England from 802 to 839
Egbert was the King of Wessex area of Britain from 802 to 839 and is generally thought of as the first ruler to exercise his authority over much of England. He was the son of Ealhmund who was the King of Kent for a short time around 784 and decended from Ingild, one of the early founders of the West Saxon kingdom. Egbert went into exile for several years after the death of King Cynewolf of Wessex who died in 786. Egbert put a claim in to rule the area but his claim was disputed by Beorhtric who, with the help of Offa, was successful in taking the title and forced Egbert to flee. The time Egbert was in exile is not documented but he probably went to the court of Charlemagne.
In 802 King Beorhtric died and Egbert returned to England and claimed the Wessex throne. Little is known of the early period of his reign but he must have spent time securing his authority and organising his kingdom and army. In 825 the Mercian King Beornwulf invaded Wessex but Egbert's preparations were tested and proved to be strong enough to defeat the invading Mercian army at the battle of Ellendun in Wiltshire. Egbert followed up this victory by sending his son Aethelwulf with an army into Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Essex each of which submitted.
In 829 Egbert invaded Mercia and defeated the Mercian King Wiglaf. He then went on into Northumbria where King Eanred submitted as well. For a short time Egbert was the bretwalda (the ruler of all of the Saxon states), but in 830 Wiglaf regained control of Mercia. The end of Egbert's reign was dominated by Danish invasions and in 836 the Vikings defeated Egbert at the battle of Carhampton. But Egbert came back in 837 and defeated the Vikings at the battle of Hingston Down.
Egbert died in the following year and was succeeded by his son Aethelwulf.
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|802||Egbert becomes King of Wessex|
|Egbert had gone into exile but when King Beorhtric of Wessex died Egbert returned to England and claimed the Wessex throne.|
|832||The rise of Wessex|
|Egbert, the king of Wessex, defeated Beornwulf, the king of Mercia at Wilton to establist the power of the area of Wessex.|
|836||Viking invade Devon|
|A fleet of possibly 35 ships landed a Viking army in Devon. Egbert fought the Vikings at Carhampton but was defeated by the invaders.|
Episode: Viking Invasions
|837||Battle of Hingston Down|
|A Viking raiding party assisted by local Cornish men was defeated by Egbert of Wessex.|
Episode: Viking Invasions
|839||Ethulwulf becomes king of Wessex|
|Egbert was followed by his son Ethulwulf as King of Wessex.|