Welcome to Norman Connections... Discover Norman History

Use the buttons below to see how Europe changed throughout the Norman era.


1. Before (911-933)

The duchy of Normandy shared the same outline as the old ecclesiastical province of Rouen that the Carolingian rulers could not defend against the Breton and Viking attacks. In 911, Charles the Simple, king of France, granted land to a Scandinavian leader called Rollo around the city Rouen in exchange for assistance against other Viking leaders and for his own conversion to Christianity. Having become princes in the Franks’ kingdom, the counts of Rouen became dukes of Normandy and in 924 were granted new lands in central Normandy (around Bayeux and Falaise). Then, in 933, the Cotentin, ruled by the Bretons since 843, was handed over to William Long Sword. In England, the kings of Wessex under Alfred the Great led a fightback against the Vikings who had conquered many of the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Under Alfred’s son Edward the Elder, much of central England and the kingdom of East Anglia submitted to him in 918. By Edward’s death in 924 he had extended his rule across England, a process consolidated by his son Athelstan. By 1066 the rival kingdoms were unified into a single one - England.

2. 1066 and after

In 1066, William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy, inherited from his predecessors a state well-integrated into the Franks’ kingdom, but which was almost independent politically.

William either strengthened his domination over his neighbours or forged alliances with them. As did his predecessors, he followed closely the political situation in England and took advantage of Edward the Confessor’s death to seize the throne and share the kingdom with his allies. At the same time, another Norman dynasty settled down in Sicily and as far as Syria (Antioch) during the Crusades. Under Norman rule, London and Palermo were the most magnificent of European courts.

3. The Norman Empire (1155)

Being the heir of the Norman dukes and kings of England, of the counts of Anjou and the dukes of Aquitaine, Henry II Piatagaret ruled over a set of provinces from the border of Scotland down to the Pyrenees. More than half of the kingdom of France was under his authority. Wales, Scotland and Ireland were also under his rule but on different terms. The final confrontation between Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Scandinavian and Norman aristocracies brought about 150 years of provinces ruled by the successors of the Conqueror.

4. The End (1204)

The Anglo-Norman provinces under Plantagenet rule were scattered across vast territories and were impacted by its quarrelling family’s succession problems. Richard the Lionheart spent most of his life away from the kingdom of England and King John failed in tackling the attacks of French king Philip Augustus as well as the revolt of his barons. By confiscating his lands on the continent in 1204, the king of France reclaimed all land lost since 911. The Channel Islands are the only remainder of the duchy of Normandy under English rule.

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