The Norman Conquest: The Cause
“He who should know the history of words would know all history". By looking at the historical influences on the country of England, one can see how modern England developed. French culture invaded every facet of English life as a direct result of the Norman Conquest. The consequences of this event, almost 1000 years ago, are still visible today. Because of the large scale of these effects, this conquest was the most influential period in English history. No other event has produced such long-lasting results, or such all-encompassing ones. The year 1066 is the most well-known date throughout all of England, and the Norman Conquest is perceived as the event that really changed the course of history. The introduction of French culture to England as a result of this conquest brought about the most significant period of change in the history of the country, during which the foundation of modern England was born.
In order to understand the effects the Norman Conquest had on everyday English life and its ruling system, one must first have knowledge of the actual event and why it happened. Before the year 1066, England was a country inhabited by a wide variety of cultures living under the same ruler. After the Danes conquered England in the 11th century, they left the son of their King to rule. Cnut was accepted by England, and ruled a land already mixed with Celts, Gauls, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and Normans. Cnut married Emma, the widow of King Ethelred of Rouen, France, at the same time securing an alliance with her brother, the Duke of Normandy.
When Cnut died in 1035, a succession of his sons led to the final crowning of Emma’s son, Edward in 1042. Edward, also the son of Ethelred, had lived in Normandy for thirty years, from the age of ten. He had been brought up in the Norman Court by Norman nobles and priests, accustomed to the ways of French government. To England he brought French speech, customs, and fellow noblemen. Thus the infiltration of French ways began a generation earlier than the Norman Conquest.
Events leading to the Battle
History of England