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How did Alfred gain advantage over the Vikings?

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Alfred, King of Wessex, faced the massive challenge of stopping Viking excursions and raids into his kingdom. By the time he came to power in 871, the Vikings were already well established in most of England and were making raids into his kingdom. These raids soon turned into attempts at conquest.

Alfred was able to definitively gain the upper hand over the Vikings after his victory at the Battle of Edington in 878. After the battle, the Vikings were forced to withdraw from southern and western England for good. To further cement his victory, Alfred, a very pious man himself, had the Viking chief Guthrum and his inner circle convert to Christianity, creating common ties of religion between the two peoples. They then formalized the borders between the land controlled by the Danes and land under Anglo-Saxon rule.

Alfred used the relative peace that ensued after the Battle of Edington to consolidate his power and institute his reforms that defined his rule and would help protect his kingdom from the possibility of future invasions. While the occasional Viking raid on Wessex would still occur, the Vikings were never able to mount a serious threat to his kingdom again. Then, in 886, Alfred successfully took London away from Viking control. He quickly went about fortifying the city to make it nearly impossible for the Vikings to retake it. Shortly afterwards, Alfred's rule of the region was further cemented when he signed a peace treaty with Guthrum.

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