Athelstan or Æthelstan, (893/4–27 October 939), called the Glorious, was the first
King of England.
 He reigned from 924 to 939. He was the son of King
Edward the Elder. Athelstan's reign is sometimes overlooked but it was of great importance to political developments in the 10th century.
Athelstan was the son of
Edward the Elder, and grandson of
Alfred the Great. His father succeeded, after some difficulty, to the
Kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons formed by Alfred. His father had also been the King of Mercia. When Edward died Athelstan quickly became King of Mercia but he was not immediately accepted as King of England. His brother,
Ælfweard, had more support in England but died soon after Edward. This made it easier for Athelstan to become king.
For Athelstan it was very important to have many allies. A year after his crowning he married one of his sisters to the
Viking King of
 However, Sithric died only a year later, and Athelstan seized Northumbria. This move made him king of more land than any other before him, roughly the same as modern
England. Historical records indicate that the other rulers in
Great Britain accepted him as king at
Bamburgh around this time.
Athelstan died at
Gloucester in 939 and was succeeded by his half-brother,