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Known for his military successes and far-sighted cultural reforms, Alfred the Great is one of the most influential monarchs in British history. For 2021, The Royal Mint has struck a new UK coin to pay tribute to this visionary monarch who built the foundations for Britain’s future. 2021 is the 1150th anniversary of the accession of Alfred the Great to the throne. This is the oldest anniversary to ever be celebrated on a UK coin.
Alfred the Great (848/49 – 899) was king of the West Saxons from 871 to c. 886 and king of the Anglo-Saxons from c. 886 to 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf, who died when Alfred was young. Three of Alfred's brothers, Æthelbald, Æthelberht and Æthelred, reigned in turn before him.
After ascending the throne, Alfred spent several years fighting Viking invasions. He won a decisive victory in the Battle of Edington in 878 and made an agreement with the Vikings, creating what was known as the Danelaw in the North of England. Alfred also oversaw the conversion of Viking leader Guthrum to Christianity. He defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, becoming the dominant ruler in England.
Alfred had a reputation as a learned and merciful man of a gracious and level-headed nature who encouraged education, proposing that primary education be conducted in Old English rather than Latin and improving the legal system and military structure and his people's quality of life. He was given the epithet "the Great" in the 16th century. Alfred is the only King to be referred to as 'the Great'.
The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.
ELIZABETH II·D·G·REG·F·D·5 POUNDS·
Depicts Alfred the Great, his name and date of the accession above, date below.
· ALFRED THE GREAT 871 ·
The edge inscription is from the Alfred Jewel meaning "Alfred ordered me made".
AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN