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The city if Oxford, England, is the county town, or shire, and the only city in Oxfordshire. It is positioned between the Cherwell and the upper River Thames, which is called “the Isis” in Oxford, a little bit north of their confluence.

It was founded in the 9th century during a time that the Saxon Alfred the Great founded an entire network of fortified towns, which were called burhs, throughout his kingdom. The new burh of Oxford blossomed into a vibrant town, and by the 10th century, Oxford had its own mint with 4 coinmakers.

In 1009, the Danes burned Oxford, despite the fact that it was a fortress. Their attack was successful due to the fact that every building was made of wood and all the roofs were thatched. Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard claimed the English throne after he invaded England in 1013. He was the first Danish king of England.

There is no record of an official date Oxford University was established, though there are records which indicate that teaching existed at Oxford in 1096.

In 1167, Henry II, who considered himself to be a good friend of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Becket publicly opposed the king on several fronts which resulted in the king barring English students from attending the University of Paris. This action served to the benefit of the university, with English students seeking to attend classes in English. The first overseas student, Emo Friesland, arrived at Oxford University, which, according to the University itself, began their tradition of developing international links.

During the First English Civil War, 1642-1651, began as a power struggle between King Charles I and English Parliament, at least in large part. Under the reign of Charles’ father James I, King of England and Ireland, the concept of the divine right of kings was established in England. The theory says that the king can impose new laws by royal prerogative, and because of this theory, anyone who tries to dethrone, depose, or restrict a monarch’s power is essentially defying God. Charles I dismissed Parliament in 1629 and ruled without that body for the next eleven years. Throughout this civil war, King Charles I was headquartered in Oxford. The University declared its fidelity to the king during the Civil War, and King Charles I set up and held a counter-Parliament in the Convocation House at Oxford University.

Today, Oxford University consists of 38 separate, self-governing colleges.


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