East Anglia

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East Anglia

(ăng`glēə), kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, comprising the modern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. It was settled in the late 5th cent. by so-called Angles from northern Germany and Scandinavia. Little is known of its early history, but its large size and the fact that it was protected by fens probably made it one of the most powerful English kingdoms in the late 6th cent. Raedwald of East Anglia (d. 627?) followed Æthelbert of Kent as king of S England. He helped EdwinEdwin
or Eadwin
, 585?–632, king of Northumbria (616–32), The son and heir of Ælla, king of Deira, he was kept from his inheritance by Æthelfrith.
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 defeat ÆthelfrithÆthelfrith
, d. 616, king of Northumbria (c.593–616). He was the first great Anglo-Saxon leader among the northern English; he united Bernicia and Deira into the kingdom of Northumbria.
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 of Northumbria and seize the Northumbrian throne. This brief ascendancy was eclipsed by the rise of the kingdom of Mercia, of which East Anglia was a dependency for long periods after 650. In 825 the East Anglians rebelled against Mercia, with the help of EgbertEgbert,
d. 839, king of Wessex (802–39). His name also appears as Ecgberht. He was descended from Cerdic and was apparently an unsuccessful aspirant for the crown of Wessex against Beohtric (reigned 786–802).
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 of Wessex, but thereafter their kingdom was a dependency of Wessex. The great Danish invading army was quartered (865–66) in East Anglia and returned (869) to conquer the kingdom completely, to destroy its monasteries, and to murder its young ruler, St. Edmund. When King Alfred of Wessex first defeated the Danes in the 870s, they retired under Guthrum to an area that included East Anglia, and the treaty of 886 confirmed the region as part of the DanelawDanelaw
, originally the body of law that prevailed in the part of England occupied by the Danes after the treaty of King Alfred with Guthrum in 886. It soon came to mean also the area in which Danish law obtained; according to the treaty, the boundary between England and
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. Its Danes gave aid to later Viking invaders and continued to harass Wessex until Edward the Elder finally defeated their army in 917. After that time, East Anglia was an earldom of England.

East Anglia

1. a region of E England south of the Wash: consists of Norfolk and Suffolk, and parts of Essex and Cambridgeshire
2. an Anglo-Saxon kingdom that consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk in the 6th century ad; became a dependency of Mercia in the 8th century