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William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror History World History Medieval Times Social Studies Visual Arts

William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, prevailed at the Battle of Senlac (also referred to as the Battle of Hastings) in 1066.  That victory was a pivotal event in Britain's history.

Other key battles - fought to enforce an alleged promise  to William by Edward the Confessor (in 1051) that William would inherit the English throne - took place in England.  Senlac / Hastings was the decisive victory for the Normans, however, because Harold II died in that battle.

The people of Britain did not take kindly to this conquest.  William had to put-down rebellions in the country.  Peasants in Mercia and Northumbria suffered from a nine-year, man-made famine after William and his men laid agricultural lands to waste.

William was determined to succeed.  By the time he died, in 1087, he had built more than 80 castles throughout Britain.

Not only did William succeed, his success forever changed the future of Britain. His endeavors are still known as "The Conquest." As Michael Wood, writing for the BBC in "History Trails," notes:

After the famous defeat of King Harold by William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the lands and riches of the Anglo-Saxon ruling class were systematically removed by its conquerors. The Norman Conquest was a thorough-going revolution which, as so often happens in history, was driven by a great figure - William the Conqueror.

You may not like William (who did?) but you have to admit that this hard, inflexible and unlovable man was politically the master of his world. And the fascinating thing about the Norman invasion is that it is still known as “the Conquest.” If you live in Britain, even now, more than 900 years on, that is all you have to say - everyone knows what you are talking about.

Click on the image for a better view of William the Conqueror.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 12, 2019


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Royal Monarchy.

 

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