The Danes are the Scandinavian people of Denmark. Their origins date as far back as 100,000 years. Beginning at about the time of Christ (c. 30 A.D.), the Danes were organized into communities that were governed by local chieftains. During the sixth and seventh centuries they participated in the Viking (pirate) raids of England, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg (these last three are sometimes referred to as the Low countries). In about 950 Denmark was united by King Harold II (also called Harald Bluetooth; c. 910–c. 985), who 10 years later was converted to Christianity and thereafter fostered its spread. The Vikings gained control of England in 1016, and the Dane warrior canute became king of England (and of Denmark). The Danes ruled England until 1042.