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In 1015 Sweyn Forkbeard's son, Canute (c.994 - 1035), then king of Denmark, invaded and war between the Saxons and the Danes started.

In 1016 Ethelred II (the Unready) died. His son, Edmund Ironside, became king, but then agreed to share the country with Canute. Edmund ruled Wessex, while Canute ruled the north. When Edmund was assassinated, Canute became king of England, and he ruled the English according to their own customs and laws. The following year Canute divided England into four earldoms: Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria, and East Anglia.

In 1019, to strengthen his claim to the English throne, Canute married Emma of Normandy, widow of Ethelred II.

In 1028 Canute conquered Norway. His son, Sweyn, became king of Norway. In 1030 Olaf tried to regain the throne, but was killed at the battle of Stiklestad.

Canute is said to have silenced fawning courtiers who exalted his power by commanding, in vain, the incoming tide to turn back, thus demonstrating to them man's impotence before the might of God.

In 1035 Canute died and his possessions were divided. His illegitimate son, Harold Harefoot, ruled England as Harold I until 1040, and Harthacanute became king of Denmark.

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