Gunderic

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Gunderic (379–428), King of the Vandals and Alans (407–428), led the Vandals, a Germanic tribe originally residing near the Oder River, to take part in the barbarian invasions of the western Roman Empire in the fifth century.

History

He was a son of King Godigisel, the Vandal king when his people breached the Rhine River frontier of the Empire on the last day of 406. During that year, the Vandals had become heavily involved in a war with the Franks, who were already settled in Gaul as allies of the Romans, and who attempted to keep the Vandals out. Godigisel was killed in the fighting and Gunderic succeeded him.

Gunderic and his people ultimately crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula. With the Hasdingi portion of the Vandals he established the Kingdom in the Roman province of Gallaecia (north-western Iberia). Conflicts with the Suebi drove him into Baetica in the south of Spain, where he joined the Silingi portion of the Vandals. Some scholars believe that the modern name of the region, Andalusia, is derived from the Vandals, because they invaded North Africa from the Iberian Peninsula. They were later driven out by the Visigoths, along with the Alans and were forced to leave Spain.

Around 426, Attaces, the king of the Alans, fell in battle against the Visigoths in Spain, and most of the surviving Alans appealed to Gunderic. Gunderic accepted their request and thus became King of the Vandals and Alans.

Late in his reign, the Vandals themselves began to clash more and more with the Visigoths, often getting the worse of these battles because the Visigoths were so much more numerous. After Gunderic died early in 428, the Vandals elected his half-brother Genseric as his successor, and Genseric left Iberia to the Visigoths in favor of invading Roman Africa.

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