William the Conquerer was the King of England from 1066 till his death in 1087. He was born in 1028 and was a prolific military leader. William the Conquerer was known for making England one of the most powerful nations. He allowed the entry of Normans into the country and their presence strengthened the English administrative system.
Early Years of William the Conquerer
William was illiterate and did not know English. He became the Duke of Normandy at the age of eight and then was crowned the King of England after the Battle of Hastings. He survived his early life with the help of Henry I, King of France. William did not have a traditional royal life. He was the illegitimate child of Robert I, Duke of Normandy. After the death of his father, he inherited the dukedom.
William the Conquerer was knighted during his teenaged years. Edward the Confessor, who was the king of England then was childless. William’s grandfather was the brother of Edward’s mother. She promised the throne to William. However, after the death of Edward, his brother-in-law, Harold Godwin, who was more powerful than William, claimed the throne for himself. William did not have any supported in the court since most of them went on Godwin’s side. William decided to attack and invade Britain and enforce his claim to the throne.
During this time, Godwin was preparing to defend the kingdom against William’s attack which was from the south side of the country. However, during this time, Norway attacked Britain from the north side. William took this opportunity and attacked Godwin’s troops who had been fighting against the Norwegians and then went south again to fight against William without any rest.
In the Battle of the Hastings, the two armies met and Godwin and his two brothers were killed in the battle and William won his claim to the throne.
William the Conquerer As the King
During his tenure as the King, William faced a lot of challenges. There were numerous revolts in England and his job was not easy since he did not know the language. Even though he advocated the English language and implemented its growth in the nation. He was also responsible for adding French and Latin words into the English dictionary.
Using the excuse of the revolts in the country, William confiscated a lot of lands and claimed them as his own. These lands were then distributed to William’s Norman followers. This was the entry of the Normans into the British Kingdom. They replaced the anglo-saxon aristocracy. This sparked a lot of protests from the natives of the kingdom. However, while name foreigners were entering the kingdom, William retained the English institutions.
One of the most famous acts of William the conquerer was the census of every individual and property in England and its compilation in the Doomsday Book.
Death of William the Conquerer
William the Conquerer died on September 9, 1087, in France at the age of 59. He had four sons and five daughters.