Canute the Great, also known as Cnut or Knute(c. 985 or 995 – 12 November 1035)
Canute (I), byname Canute the Great, Danish Knut, or Knud, den Store, Norwegian Knut den Mektige (died Nov. 12, 1035), Danish king of England (1016–35), of Denmark (as Canute II; 1019–35), and of Norway (1028–35), who was a power in the politics of Europe in the 11th century, respected by both emperor and pope. Neither the place nor the date of his birth is known.
Canute was the grandson of the Polish ruler Mieszko I on his mother’s side. As a youth he accompanied his father, Sweyn I Forkbeard, king of Denmark, on his invasion of England in 1013. Canute was left in charge of the fleet at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and it was probably then that he met Aelfgifu, daughter of an ealdorman (chief officer) of Northumbria who had been murdered with King Aethelred II’s connivance in 1006; she bore him two sons, Sweyn and Harold. Sweyn I Forkbeard was accepted as king of England by the end of 1013 but died in February 1014, and the English invited Aethelred to return. Canute and the men of Lindsey planned a combined expedition, but Canute deserted his allies at Easter and sailed to Denmark, putting his hostages, savagely mutilated, ashore at Sandwich. In 1015 he returned and began a long struggle with Aethelred’s son Edmund II Ironside … After Aethelred died in April 1016, the English witan (council) elected Canute king at Southampton, but those councillors who were in London, with the citizens, elected Edmund. Canute won a victory at Ashingdon, Essex, on October 18, and the kingdom was then divided; but Edmund died on November 30, and Canute succeeded to the whole.
- The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (refers to him as Knute)
- William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the kings of England
- Canute (Catholic Encyclopedia)
- Cnut: England’s Viking King by Michael Kenneth Lawson
- The Empire of Cnut the Great by Timothy Bolton
- The Reign of Cnut by Alexander Rumble
- Canute and His Sons by Steven Muhlberger