Æthelwulf was King of Wessex from 839 to 858. He was defeated in 843 in
battle against the Vikings at Carhampton in Somerset, but achieved a
major victory at the Battle of Aclea in 851. He went on pilgrimage to
Rome in 855, leaving his eldest surviving son Æthelbald to act as King
of Wessex in his absence. Æthelwulf stayed a year in Rome; on his way
back he married Judith, the daughter of the West Frankish King Charles
the Bald. When Æthelwulf returned to England, Æthelbald refused to
surrender the throne, and Æthelwulf agreed to divide the kingdom,
taking the east and leaving the west in Æthelbald’s hands. Before the
twenty-first century Æthelwulf’s reputation among historians was poor:
he was seen as excessively pious and impractical, and his pilgrimage was
viewed as a desertion of his duties. Now historians see him as a king
who consolidated and extended the power of his dynasty, and dealt more
effectively than most of his contemporaries with Viking attacks. He is
regarded as one of the most successful West Saxon kings, who laid the
foundations for the success of his son, Alfred the Great.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Wang Shichong’s army defeated that of Li Mi, allowing Wang to
consolidate his power and soon depose China’s Sui dynasty.
Seven Years’ War: The Battle of Manila concluded with a British
victory over Spain, leading to a short British occupation of Manila.
Eleftherios Venizelos was elected Prime Minister of Greece for
the first of his seven non-consecutive terms.
Two bombs placed by CIA-linked anti-Castro Cuban exiles
exploded aboard Cubana Flight 455, killing all 78 aboard.
Al Qaeda bombed the oil tanker Limburg, causing 90,000 barrels
(14,000 m3) of oil to leak into the Gulf of Aden.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
In a manner that disagrees; dissenting; discordant; different.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Knowledge isn’t restrained by the limits of Malthus. Information
doesn’t need topsoil to grow in, only freedom. Given eager minds and
experimentation, it feeds itself like a chain reaction.
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