Æthelred of Wessex Biography
(King of Wessex and Kent (865-871))
Born In: Wessex, England
Æthelred of Wessex or Æthelred I was the King of Wessex and Kent from 865 to 871. Born as the fourth son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex, he initially had little chance of ascending the throne. However, all his older brothers died young following which, he inherited the throne, becoming the King of Wessex and Kent at the age of 18. Little is known about the initial years of his reign except the fact that shortly after becoming the king, he established common currency in Wessex and Mercia, which was ruled by his brother-in-law at that time. Other than that, his ruling period can be described as a long struggle against the Danes, who had descended upon England and were determined to conquer the country the year Æthelred ascended the throne. In 870, he faced his first major invasion by the Danes, fighting frequent wars with them. He died at the age of 24 in 871, possibly from wounds sustained in his last battle.