Online Encyclopedia

DANEGELD

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 803 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DANEGELD, an English national tax originally levied by 'Ethelred II. (the Unready) as a means of raising the tribute which was the price of the temporary cessation of the Danish ravages. This expedient of buying off the invader was first adopted in 991 on the advice of certain great men of the kingdom. It was repeated in 994, 1002, 1007 and 1012. With the accession of the Danish king Canute, the original raison d'etre of the tax ceased to exist, but it continued to. be levied, though for a different purpose, assuming now the character of an occasional war-tax. It was exceedingly burdensome, and its abolition by Edward the Confessor in 1051 was welcomed as a great relief. William the Conqueror revived it immediately after his accession, as a convenient method of national taxation, and it was with the object of facilitating its collection that he ordered the compilation of Domesday Book. It continued to be levied until 1163, in which year the name Danegeld appears for the last time in the Rolls. Its place was taken by other imposts of similar character but different name.
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