Eras and Their Highlights

The Middle Ages

Who were the Normans?

The Normans, like the Danes, originated in Scandinavia and were Vikings. In the mid-800s they invaded northern France, ousting the Franks who had conquered the region 400 years earlier. There they stayed, in the region that came to be known as Normandy (or Normandie). In 1066 the Norman duke William (the Conqueror; 1027–1087) sailed across the channel and claimed the English throne, uniting Normandy with the English kingdom. This arrangement lasted until 1204 when French King Philip Augustus (1165–1223) reclaimed the territory. England took it back during the fifteenth century, but in 1450 Normandy was permanently restored to France, becoming a province. Norman descendants still live there today, and their influence is also evident across the English channel, where the Norman nobility intermixed with the Anglo-Saxons.

William the Conqueror in battle. In 1066 the Norman duke sailed across the English Channel and claimed the throne of England.

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