Harold I or Harold Fairhair, Norse Harald Haarfager, c.850–c.933, first king of Norway, son of Halfdan the Black, king of Vestfold (SE Norway). After succeeding his father, Harold initiated a series of battles against the other petty kings, climaxed by a great victory at Hafrs Fjord (872) that made him ruler of Norway. Although he is considered Norway's first king, Harold controlled only the west coast. Migration to Iceland reached its peak during Harold's reign, as did the raids by Norsemen on the coasts of Europe. The king maintained friendly relations with Athelstan, king of the English. Viking civilization flourished at his court. On his death his lands were divided among his sons; Eric Bloodyaxe was made overlord, but another son, Haakon I, seized power.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
(Norwegian, Harald; known as Haarfager, “Fair-hair”). Norwegian konungr (king) circa 890–940 (or 945) A.D.
Harold was the first to unite Norway, destroying or subordinating the rulers of separate districts. The unification of the country was not stable, however, and in the last years of his reign Harold divided Norway and apportioned the sections among his sons, one of whom, Eric Bloodaxe, he named supreme konungr.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
surname Harefoot. died 1040, king of England (1037--40); son of Canute
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005