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Battle of Hastings

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The Battle of Hastings took place on 14th[1] October 1066, fought between King Harold of England's army and Duke William of Normandy's invading force. William had landed at Pevensey on England's south coast in late September, just days after Harold's army had defeated an invading army in northern England. Harold marched south, via London, and faced William's army at Senlac Hill near Hastings, England (now the town of Battle). The Normans won decisively and Harold was killed, effectively ending Anglo-Saxon rule of England and establishing the Norman line of monarchs.

The battle was ostensibly fought to assert a Norman claim to the throne by William, Duke of Normandy. Edward the Confessor, had become the Anglo-Saxon king of England in 1042. Harold was a powerful man who had brought Wales into the kingdom and mollified the Northumbrian rebels. Edward died childless, Harold assumed the throne, resulting in a succession crisis which culminated in the Battle of Hastings.[2]

Following the battle, William, Duke of Normandy (later William I, also known as William the Conqueror) marched on London where he was crowned king of England on 25 December 1066.

 "It is neither clear nor likely that Edward had designated William as his heir, as the Norman duke claimed when Edward died, but it is possible."[3]

For the next three centuries, Norman French would be the language of much official correspondence, and English would absorb a substantial amount of its vocabulary. The Norman conquest critically changed the course of England's history.

The Battle of Hastings was memorialized in the Bayeux Tapestry, and Battle Abbey was built on the battlefield, founded by William.

References cited in text

  1. by the calendar in use at the time; 20th by the modern calendar
  2. Edward the Confessor (c.1003 - 1066). BBC History
  3. Morillo S (1996). "Introduction" in Morillo S (ed.) The Battle of Hastings: Sources and Interpretations. p. xiii. Boydell Press. ISBN 9780851156194.