Danegeld

Entertainment / Literature / Danegeld: The practice of paying extortion money to Vikings to make them go away, often associated in particular with the Anglo-Saxon king 'Aethelred Unraed.' His nickname means 'Aethelred the Unready,' or more accurately translated, 'Aethelred the Uncounciled.' At various points in history, British kings paid as much as 20,000 pounds in silver to appease the Vikings and prevent invasion--a disastrous policy that bankrupted the island and encouraged the return of extortionate Vikings every few years. This failed policy of Danegeld ultimately led to large portions of northern England being settled by the Vikings in the area known as the Danelaw, which in turn played a key part in the evolution of the English language through the incorporation of Scandinavian loan-words. Words like skiff, ship, and shirt, for instance, are all loan-words borrowed from the Vikings. NB: Danegeld should not be confused with wergild.

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