Published on January 7th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw
2017 is the 1000th anniversary of King Canute’s coronation. He was the first Viking King to be crowned as a Christian King in England.
Long before the Norman invasion of 1066, Canute the Great crossed the North Sea and seized the throne of England. He was a Viking warrior and son of King Swein ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark. After a campaign of battles lasting a year he is understood to have been crowned in London, probably in St. Paul’s Cathedral, in 1017.
Capturing the English Throne was the beginning of a period of conquest. Before the end of his reign; Canute’s empire stretched from England to Denmark, Norway and included part of Sweden as well.
He then strengthened the currency, initiating a series of coins of equal weight to those being used in Denmark and other parts of Scandinavia. As he was a Viking King, ruler of Denmark and then of England, Canute was able to protect England against the devastating Viking raids it had suffered for 100 years beforehand.
As a Christian, and as part of his self-promotion as a peaceful ‘English’ King, he also made generous gifts to the church. His reign in England lasted for nineteen years and he restored prosperity to the country.
Today, Canute is best known for the story on which he sat on his throne at the water’s edge and commanded the tide to turn back. The story shows Canute, unable to halt the approach of the sea, portraying to his flattering courtiers that he was only human and that a King’s powers were nothing compared to the power of God.
New Coins to Mark 1000th Anniversary of King Canute’s Coronation
This year marks 1,000 years since the Coronation of King Canute. As part of the King Canute commemorations, the first 1,000th anniversary coin has been produced in his honour.
The coin design has been inspired by the original currency of King Canute. It also reflects the fact that he was a powerful and ancient Nordic King with a great story that we still recall today.
The reverse coin design is influenced by the prows of Viking longships, indicating the proud, determined nature of Canute. It includes the particular type of crown that King Canute is seen wearing in medieval manuscripts. The shaved back-of-the-head hairstyle associated with Vikings is also utilised as is Canute’s reported ‘long-nose’.
The obverse coin design carries the Jody Clark fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen.
If you are a collector of coins or items of historical interest, there is unique selection of collectible Coins available at the Post Office Shop. Produced to commemorate memorable events and anniversaries many of these items are limited edition and so will be treasured for years to come.