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William the Conqueror
     

William the Conqueror

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by Jacob Abbott
 

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William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. The descendant of Viking raiders, he had been Duke of Normandy since 1035 under the style William II. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The rest of his life

Overview

William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. The descendant of Viking raiders, he had been Duke of Normandy since 1035 under the style William II. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son. The impact on England of William's conquest was profound; changes in the Church, aristocracy, culture, and language of the country have persisted into modern times. The Conquest brought the kingdom into closer contact with France and forged ties between France and England that lasted throughout the Middle Ages. Another consequence of William's invasion was the sundering of the formerly close ties between England and Scandinavia. William's government blended elements of the English and Norman systems into a new one that laid the foundations of the later medieval English kingdom. How abrupt and far-reaching the changes were is still a matter of debate among historians, with some such as Richard Southern claiming that the Conquest was the single most radical change in European history between the Fall of Rome and the 20th century.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940022110760
Publisher:
New York : Harper & Brothers
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
337 KB

Read an Excerpt


William's claims to the English throne. The Lady Emma. Chapter VI. The Lady Emma. TT is not to be supposed that, even in the war- -- like times of which we are writing, such a potentate as a duke of Normandy would invade a country like England, so large and powerful in comparison to his own, without some pretext. William's pretext was, that he himself was the legitimate successor to the English crown, and that the English king who possessed it at the time of his invasion was a usurper. In order that the reader may understand the nature and origin of this his claim, it is necessary to relate somewhat in full the story of the Lady Emma. By referring to the genealogy of the Norman line of dukes contained in the second chapter of this volume, it will be seen that Emma was the daughter of the first Richard. She was celebrated in her early years for her great personal beauty. They called her the Pearl of Normandy. She married, at length, one of the kings of England, whose name was Ethelred. England was at that time distracted by civil wars, waged Claimants to the English throne. Ethelred. between the two antagonist races of Saxons and Danes. There were, in fact, two separate dynasties or lines of kings, who were contending, all the time, for the mastery. In these contests, sometimes the Danes would triumph for a time, and sometimes the Saxons; and sometimes both races would have a royal representative in the field, each claiming the throne, and reigning over separate portions of the island. Thus there were, at certain periods, two kingdoms in England, both covering the same territory, and claiming the government of the same populationwith two kings, two capitals, two administrationswhilethe wretched inhabitants were distracted and ruined by the terrible conflicts t...

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