Historical Normandy

From Rollo to King William the Conqueror.

The two regions of the Haute-Normandie and Basse-Normandie once formed a single province, known as the Normandie ( Normandy in English ), the land of the North Men.

The Normandy was once part of Gaul until King Clovis I brought the region to his newly unified Frankish Kingdom. With Clovis converted to Christianity ( around 496 A.D. ) a campaign of conversion began, cathedrals and churches were built, parishes established villages organised themselves around the churches.

The region quickly grew wealthy under the Frankish administration but a year will change the Frankish kingdom and maybe the whole of Western Europe. In 799 A.D, while Charlemagne ( Carolus Magnus ) rules his huge Empire, raids from northern foreigners began in Normandy and will last for more than a century.

The Vikings

The Viking raiders rapidly became a growing threat until the Frankish kings were not able to defend their subjects and the task fell on local lords, angrier against their rulers.

Realizing that the North of actual France was a lucrative target, the Vikings became bolder and in 885 A.D, they besieged the city of Paris.

In 911 A.D, King Charles “the Simple” figured a way to stop the Viking raids. With chief Rollo, King Charles concluded a pact offering to Rollo the county of Rouen ( corresponding to today’s Haute-Normandie region ) in exchange of his fealty and his duty of protection of the Seine estuary.

During the next hundred years, the new duchy of Normandy grew in size through conquests. Its lands spread from the Channel Islands to parts of what is now Brittany.

In 1050 A.D, Duke Guillaume le Bâtard ( William the Bastard ) conquered the Maine ( south of Normandy ) and became one of the most powerful vassals of France. Sixteen years after this conquest, he claimed and successfully conquered England and became its sovereign under the name of William the First, William the Conqueror.

The timeline

  • Rollo: Count of Rouen and Jarl of the Normans from 911 to 927.
  • Guillaume the 1st “Long Sword”: Count of Rouen and Jarl of the Normans from 927 to 942.
  • Richard the 1st: Count of Rouen and Jarl of the Normans from 942 to 996.
  • Richard the 2nd: Count of Rouen then Duke of Normandy from 996 to 1026.
  • Richard the 3rd: Duke of Normandy from 1026 to 1027.
  • Robert the Magnificent: Duke of Normandy from 1027 to 1035.
  • Guillaume the 2nd: Duke of Normandy from 1035 to 1087, who became King William the Conqueror of England in 1066.

By Alister

Studying at the University of Besaçon, Burgundy Franche-Comté, France

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