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William the Conqueror

King of England and Duke of Normandy William the Conqueror

Profession: King of England and Duke of Normandy

Nationality: Norman

Why Famous: William the Conqueror was the King of England from his successful conquest in 1066 until his death in 1087, and the Duke of Normandy from 1035 until 1087. He was occasionally known in non-Norman contemporary sources as William the Bastard, as he was the illegitimate heir of Robert I, Duke of Normandy and his lover Herleva.

His status as a bastard caused him issues in the first years of his reign as duke, when anarchy and rebellion threatened his government. He quashed many uprisings but his rule was not firmly established until 1060. He was a contender for the English throne as he was the first cousin once removed of King Edward the Confessor, who was childless. Harold II took the throne in January 1066 and William began constructing a large invasion fleet.

He landed on September 28, 1066, and defeated Harold's forces at the Battle of Hastings on October 14 and was crowned on Christmas Day. He spent the latter part of his reign quashing dissent from the English nobility. William's conquest resulted in the introduction of Norman landowners, reformations to the court and government, shifting the course of English history.

Birthplace: Falaise, Duchy of Normandy

Died: September 9, 1087

Articles and Photos

Historical Events

  • 1066-09-27 William the Conqueror's troops set sail for England
  • 1066-09-28 William the Conqueror invades England landing at Pevensey Bay, Sussex
  • 1066-10-14 Battle of Hastings: William the Conqueror and his Norman army defeat the English forces of Harold II who is killed in the battle
  • 1066-12-25 William the Conqueror is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey, completing the Norman conquest of England
  • 1086-08-01 Results of the Domesday inquiry presented to William the Conqueror in Salisbury (the date of compilation and the Great Domesday are historically contestable)

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