Battle of Stamford Bridge

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{language, word, form}
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{son, year, death}
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Coordinates: 53°59′20″N 0°54′11″W / 53.989°N 0.903°W / 53.989; -0.903

The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire in England on 25 September 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada of Norway (Old Norse: Haraldr harðráði) and the English king's brother Tostig Godwinson. After a stubborn battle, both Hardrada and Tostig along with the majority of the Norwegians were killed. Although Harold repelled the Norwegian invaders, his victory was short-lived: he was defeated and killed at Hastings less than three weeks later. The battle has traditionally been presented as symbolising the end of the Viking Age, although in fact major Scandinavian campaigns in the British Isles occurred in the following decades, notably those of King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark in 1069-70 and King Magnus Barefoot of Norway in 1098 and 1102-3.

Contents

Background

The death of King Edward the Confessor of England in January 1066 had triggered a succession struggle in which a variety of contenders from across north-western Europe fought for the English throne. These claimants included the King of Norway, Harald Hardrada, who assembled a fleet of 300 ships, probably carrying about 15,000 troops, to invade England. Arriving off the English coast in September he was joined by further forces recruited in Flanders and Scotland by Tostig Godwinson.[1] Tostig was at odds with his elder brother Harold (who had been elected king), having been ousted from his position as Earl of Northumbria and exiled in 1065, and had mounted a series of abortive attacks on England in the spring of 1066.[2] In the late summer of 1066, the invaders sailed up the Humber and burned Scarborough before advancing on York. Outside the city they defeated a northern English army led by Edwin, Earl of Mercia and his brother Morcar, Earl of Northumbria at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September. Following this victory they received the surrender of York. Having briefly occupied the city and taken hostages and supplies from the city they returned to their ships at Riccall. They offered peace to the Northumbrians in exchange for their support for Harald's bid for the throne, and demanded further hostages from the whole of Yorkshire.[3]

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