ANGLO-SAXONS - MERCIA
Mercia was an important monarchy in the English Midlands from the 6th century to the 10th. From the mid-7th century until it ceased to exist as a kingdom, Mercia was one of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms during the early Middle Ages, the others being Northumbria, Wessex, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, and Sussex; Mercia being the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. It became a dominant force under Penda from about AD 632 until his death in AD 655. Bretwalda, his son, was the first Mercian overlord of the southern English. Offa (757–796), was the first of the Anglo-Saxon kings who might rightly be called "king of the English", and Mercia was never again as powerful as it was during Offa's reign.