→Why England Became United
==Why England Became United==
What is clear is that all of the kingdoms that became England either willingly joined Wessex or eventually joined after a relatively brief power struggle. In effect, the invasions and occupation by the Danes and Norse led to many Anglo-Saxons to see Wessex as the unifying force for the country. While Alfred did call himself "King of the English speaking people," he was able to transplant this idea to his son and grandson, where the idea of England as a unified state soon became state policy in the reconquest. Many, particularly in Mercia, did not want Wessex to rule over all England; however, the continued threat of Danish and Norse invasions, including those that occurred later, did help rally people to Wessex. Thus, it was the weakness of the defeated kingdoms and Wessex proving that it could stand against Norse and Danish invasions that helped to ultimately unify the land in what became known as the land of the Angles (i.e., England). Alfred may have harbored interests in unifying the state even without the invasions of the Danes and Norse; however, this would have been very difficult, as it would have required fighting the three other kingdoms. The Danes and Norse had weakened potential enemies for Alfred, while also making themselves as a rallying cry for Anglo-Saxons to unite under the banner of Wessex. The viking invasions of England, in effect, became a perfect opportunity for a smart ruler such as Alfred to realize it created a great opportunity to unite the divided states.
Interestingly, while Alfred and his successors became successful in preventing successful Danish and Norse invasions of England, this also created the seeds for the eventual Norman conquest of England. Many of the Norse, rather than settling in England, settled in what became Normandy, as this land seemed easier to settle than England that had many burhs and increasingly became more united. Over time, they formed the kingdom and Duchy of Normandy by the 10th century. As Normandy became more powerful in Europe, it was able to invade England and conquer it in what became known as the Norman invasion in 1066.