What if Harald Hardrada conquered England

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What if Harald Hardrada conquered England

Post by Mr Trolldemort on Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:59 pm

So in our timeline, there were two invasions of England in 1066 from two rival claimants to the throne.  One was William of Normandy, and the other was Harald Hardrada of Norway.  Harold of England first dealt with Harald, killing him at the battle of Stamford Bridge.  However, he was too drained to deal with William, and lost the battle of Hastings, making him the ruler of England and Norway.  This was one of the most pivotal moments in English history, as it brought England out of isolation from mainland Europe, and French became the language of the upper classes for over 300 years, which profoundly changed English course.

However, what if instead, William was fought first, leaving Harald with an advantage and becoming ruler of England and Norway.  I think it would have many profound changes.

1.  England would now be even more influenced by the Norse, which they already were beforehand.  Not only that, but their connections with the Scandinavian countries would be even more entrenched, leaving it still isolated from Europe during the middle ages.

2.  The Norse influence on English would continue on, perhaps leading to even more profound changes, such as more pronouns being changed to its Norse influence (They, them and their are all from old Norse).

3.  England would not be as influential as in our timeline.  With its union with Norway, it would remain a minor power under the control of other Scandinavian countries like Denmark, who would never become a major power.  With  that being said, that means less English colonization, no USA or Canada, different outcomes for major European wars, and much much more.

What do you all think?
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Re: What if Harald Hardrada conquered England

Post by EmperorTigerstar on Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:11 am

I'd agree with 1 - 3.
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Re: What if Harald Hardrada conquered England

Post by Lord Yavimaya on Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:07 pm

I couldn't imagine the personal union would last very long. It would probably end up like Cnut- England would probably declare its own ruler when a pretender struggle would inevitable start after his death. Maintaining rule over kingdoms across the North sea would prove an impossible task for his less competent successors.
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Re: What if Harald Hardrada conquered England

Post by Thorfinn Karlsefni Yesterday at 6:44 pm

Interesting question. I asked it first, but I guess I titled it wrong, and then proceeded to answer my own question. Or everyone missed it, as I missed this for three months. Laughing

Ok, I'll accept this thread instead of mine.

I agree with everything that's been said about it. I would guess that Hardrada's Empire would not last any longer than Cnut's did. The northern lands were too geographically separated to remain under one Kingdom. After his death, everything would revert to the old Feudal intrigues and rivalries.

There would be one HUGE change: We'd never get the entanglements between France and England that marked the next 900 years. Being less involved with each other, those countries might never have become the staunch allies they have been since the Crimean War. I can easily see a chain of events in which Britain might never have joined World War 1, and it'd be a slightly longer version of the Franco-Prussian War.
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