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On October 14, 1066, Duke William of Normandy ended the Anglo-Saxon period in British history with his victory at the Battle of Hastings, England. This battle is so pivotal in the history of Western Civilization that the year “1066” is often used to refer to the event, and the victor’s nickname has gone down in history as “William the Conqueror.”
 
William was the leader of Normandy, a region in northwest France with cultural ties to the island kingdoms of Great Britain just across the English Channel. In fact, William had previously met and corresponded with Harold Godwinson, the English king his forces confronted and killed at the Battle of Hastings.
 
The Norman conquest of England had long-lasting consequences. After crowning himself king in December, William (now William I of England) immediately began to replace almost all English landowners and religious leaders with his own supporters from France. Thousands of displaced English families relocated to Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, and even what is today Turkey. William then organized the first census of his kingdom, known as the Domesday Book. The Domesday Book recorded the property and resources owned by almost every person in England and parts of Wales. This census allowed William to assess the financial, military, and cultural value of the kingdom, as well as estimate the taxes he could charge his new subjects.
 
Perhaps the most long-lasting consequence of the Norman conquest is the emergence of the modern English language. Prior to the invasion, English kings spoke an Anglo-Saxon dialect now known as Old English. William introduced Anglo-Norman, now known as Old French, as the language spoken at court, a tradition that would last hundreds of years. The blending of Anglo-Saxon and French would lead to the development of Middle English and modern English.
Anglo-Saxon
Adjective

having to do with England or Great Britain before the Norman invasion in 1066.

assess
Verb

to evaluate or determine the amount of.

calculate
Verb

to reach a conclusion by mathematical or logical methods.

Noun

program of a nation, state, or other region that counts the population and usually gives its characteristics, such as age and gender.

confront
Verb

to address a problem or person directly.

conquest
Noun

victory.

correspond
Verb

to match or be similar to.

court
Noun

monarch or other noble person and the group of people who serve, advise, and consult with them, or the place where this group meets.

defeat
Verb

to overcome an enemy or obstacle.

dialect
Noun

distinct variation of a language, usually marked by accents and grammar.

displace
Verb

to remove or force to evacuate.

Domesday Book
Noun

(1086) census and survey of England, noting ownership of land and assets.

duke
Noun

among British nobility, a man with the highest rank outside the royal family.

emerge
Verb

to develop or come into view.

estimate
Verb

to guess based on knowledge of the situation or object.

financial
Adjective

having to do with money.

immediately
Adverb

at once or quickly.

introduce
Verb

to create, begin, or make an idea known for the first time.

invasion
Noun

an attack or move to take possession.

Noun

type of government with a king or queen as its leader, or the land ruled by that king or queen.

language
Noun

set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.

migrate
Verb

to move from one place or activity to another.

military
Noun

armed forces.

organize
Verb

to coordinate and give structure to.

perhaps
Adverb

maybe.

pivotal
Adjective

very important or crucial point.

previous
Adjective

earlier, or the one before.

prior
Adjective

before or ahead of.

property
Noun

goods or materials (including land) owned by someone.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

relocate
Verb

to move a residence or business from one place to another.

resource
Noun

available supply of materials, goods, or services. Resources can be natural or human.

Scandinavia
Noun

region and name for some countries in Northern Europe: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

subject
Noun

person under the authority of a monarch or other powerful ruler.

tax
Noun

money or goods citizens provide to government in return for public services such as military protection.

tradition
Noun

beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.

victory
Noun

success or triumph.

Western Civilization
Noun

civilizations of European origin.

More Dates in History

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