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William the Conqueror (People)

William the Conqueror (1028-1087), ruled as the Duke of Normandy from 1035 to 1087. He conquered England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, months before the Vikings were defeated by Harold, and was crowned king on Christmas day of that same year. William erected many castles throughout England and his rule marked a new way of warfare: sieges and castles. His most famous castle is, undoubtedly, The Tower of London built in 1078 as a way not only to stop any possible invasions, but also to show his power in England.

Early Life

William became Duke of Normandy at the age of 7 and was known as Duke William II of Normandy. King Henry I of France knighted him when he turned 15 and by his 19th birthday, he was already successfully dealing with threats of rebellions and invasions. He married at the age of 26 with the 4'2 22-year-old Matilda of Flanders who was his cousins - their marriage produced six daughters and four sons.

England and William's Life

Undoubtedly, his most important victory was at the Battle of Hastings when he defeated Harold. He became king and built many castles, moats and other buildings. He initiated major changes including the Domesday Book which was similar to a modern census where he kept track of taxes and maximized them. His rule led the Norman to replace English as the language of the nobility for three centuries.

William died at the age of 59 near Rouen France on September 22, 1047. It is believed that he died from abdominal injuries received by falling from his horse. William was succeeded as King of England by his son, William Rufus. His elder son, Robert Curthose, became the new Duke of Normandy.

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