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Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians (c. 870 – 918), ruled Mercia in the English Midlands from 911 until her death. The oldest daughter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex, she married Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians, who ruled western Mercia when the eastern part was occupied by the Vikings. After her husband's death, she ruled Mercia and played a leading role in recovering southern England from the Vikings in cooperation with her brother, King Edward the Elder. She fortified many towns, sent an army to capture Derby, and secured the surrender of Leicester without a fight. The Viking leaders of York offered her their loyalty, but she died before she could take up the offer. Her daughter Ælfwynn briefly ruled Mercia, but was seized by Edward, who took her into Wessex and brought Mercia under his direct rule. Historians disagree whether Mercia was an independent kingdom under Æthelred and Æthelflæd, but they agree that Æthelflæd played an important part in ending Viking rule in England. As a rare English warrior queen, and a successful one, she has captivated Medieval and modern writers. (Full article...)
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