Fact 1: The Vikings were known for their raids and invasions
The Vikings had a reputation for raiding and invading countries across Europe, which led many people to fear them.
The Vikings famously invaded England and lived there until around 1050. They also travelled all over Europe, invading Spain, Italy, Ireland and France. Wherever they settled, the Vikings left a strong influence on society that can still be seen today!
Not only did the Vikings invade, settle and control parts of England, they also controlled parts of France. They first set their sights on France after carrying out several successful raids across England.
One famous raid on France saw the Vikings row up the river Seine to Paris, looting the city for its gold, silver, cattle and slaves. This was such a successful trip, that the Vikings returned to Paris several times. Sometimes they were given bribes in order to go away!
Fact 2: The Vikings settled in Normandy
In the 9th century the Vikings had left Denmark in search of better land to grow their crops, and France had become weak due to a civil war. This was the perfect time for the Vikings to invade France and establish a new settlement.
The Vikings decided to invade France using the same strategies that had worked for them in England. This meant they attacked markets, towns and monasteries.
The Viking leader at the time was called Rollo, and his relentless attack on France meant that the French king would do anything to bring about peace. The French king at the time was Charles the Simple, and he agreed to give Rollo some land in the north of France as long as the Vikings stopped raiding and attacking France.
The Viking land in France was known as the land of the Northmen, as well as Northmannia. This was later shortened to Normandy, a place that still exists in France today!
Vikings used this area to grow crops and rear cattle, establishing a new life for themselves amongst the French people.
Fact 3: The Vikings became the Normans
As the Vikings spent more time in their new home Normandy, cultivating land and growing crops, they began to mingle more with the French people and their customs.
Many Vikings got married to French people, became farmers and fought for the French king in times of warfare. By the year 1000, most of the Vikings in France had abandoned their Viking beliefs and converted to Christianity. They still had their Viking love for conquest, but most Vikings had now completely blended into medieval European society.
The Vikings who lived in Normandy, soon became known as the Normans.
Let’s watch a video about how the Vikings became French!
Fact 4: The most famous Norman was William the Conqueror
The most famous Norman was William the Conqueror who is known for invading England in 1066. William was crowned the Duke of Normandy when he was just seven years old! However, he was an illegitimate child and there were many people who thought that they deserved the title of Duke more than him.
The king of England at the time was a man called Edward the Confessor, and he was distant cousins with the Duke of Normandy. When Edward the Confessor died, William the Duke of Normandy believed that he was the rightful heir to the English throne…
Fact 5: William the Conqueror became king of England
The Anglo-Saxon rule of England eventually came to an end in 1066 due to the Norman conquest of England. One of the most famous events of the Norman conquest was the Battle of Hastings. There were three rivals for the English throne, including William the Conqueror, and they fought each other to become king!
William the Conqueror gathered all of his men from Normandy and France, and took them to England for the battle. He eventually beat his two rivals and was crowned the king of England.
The events of the Norman conquest can be seen in the Bayeux tapestry. It’s a famous tapestry that tells the entire story of the events.
After he was crowned king, William quickly replaced all of the Anglo-Saxon leaders in England with Normans. This helped him secure his place as king, making sure that no one tried to steal the throne from him.
William the Conqueror ruled both England and Normandy, and he would spend most of his time in France. He died in Normandy in 1087.
William the Conqueror played an important part in England’s history, and some of the castles he built can still be seen today! He is known as one of the most important and influential kings of England!
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#1. Which river did the Vikings take to enter Paris?
#2. How did Parisians get rid of the Vikings?
#3. Which Viking leader led the invasion of France?
#4. The French King was called Charles, but what was his nickname?
#5. Viking Land in France was known as the land of the what?
#6. The Vikings assimilated with the French. What does the word ‘assimilated’ mean?
#7. The Vikings converted to what religion?
#8. How old was William the Conqueror when he was named Duke of Normandy?
#9. Which famous tapestry tells of the Norman invasion of England in 1066?
#10. What did William the Conqueror build a lot of in England?
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