Today in World History: September 9th

William the Conqueror, King of England, a Norman duke and the last person in history to successfully invade England, died on this day in 1087. Born to Robert I of Normandy and his mistress, his claim to the throne was contested and created anarchy in the first few years of his rule, although his hold on Normandy was mostly secured by 1060. His marriage to Matilda of Flanders ensured William had a powerful ally in the county of Flanders, helping him prepare his invasion of England. He began preparing his invasion of England almost immediately after he became duke of Normandy, enforcing his claim on the throne of King Edward I, his first cousin once removed. In 1066 he launched his invasion, and managed to defeat Harold Godwinson, one of three claimants vying for the throne upon Edward’s death, at the Battle of Hastings. Godwinson had previously defeated the King of Norway, and was ill prepared for another battle, and was killed in the battle. William was crowned on Christmas Day 1066, the last invader of England, bringing his French and Scandinavian traditions to England, and instituting a new era, that would bring the rise and fall of the Plantagenet dynasty and its influence in France, and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty, and the War of the Roses.


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