Born by Robert I, the Duke ofNormady and Herleva, the Duke’s mistress, in c1028 in Falaise. Willian succeededhis father, in 1035 at eight years old after his death.
Given that William washis only son he became the sole heir of Normandy.His early years in power were fullof ups and downs due to his origin and the only language he knew. After a greatstruggle he took control of London, by mounting a campaignacross it and forcing Edgar Atheling to surrender. He was crowned a King on Christmas Day 1066 at Westminster Abbey andruled England till September 1087.
He got married in the year 1050 to Matilda Blander. Thecouple gave birth to least nine children. Among them( RobertCurthose) his eldest son, who later became the heir of Normandy after hisfather’s death. King William dead in Rouen, France and was buried in StStephen’s Abbey, Caen, Normandy. William expected to become a King after the death ofEdward the confessor. But When Edward the Confessor died he was shocked tolearn that Harold Godwineson had taken the crown and was most likely planningto attack England .He went to a one day battle “hasting battle” at Senlac Hilland won the battle thus gaining control of London which was the Englishtreasury. As a religious leader he took part in churchcouncils, making appointments like appointing the Archbishop of Rouen,Maurilius to the Norman episcopate.
Although he was very religious he managedto bring most of the church’s ordinary functions under the authority of commonlaw by separating ecclesiastical courts from lay courts.EARLYLIFE CHALLENGESBeing the only heir of Normandy yet he was a bastard,these landed him into a series of battles over power with his relatives fromwithin to distant. Although William faced several challenges uponbecoming duke –with his illegitimate birth, his Archbishop Robert, his uncletogether with the king of France, Henry I, were there to help him to succeed tohis father’s duchy.Concerned about William’s wellabout, as a young king, French king Henry I played a major role on lending anhand whenever needed. For instance, when Guy of Burgundy, William’s cousin tried to over through him in 1046, atVal-és-Dunes king Henry I helped him defeat him and secured control overNormandy.
On the other hand, with the help ofHenry, William was able to capture Alençon and Domfrontcastle in Maine, France in 1051–52. Again with King Henry’s – besieged therebels- help Arques-la-Bataille castle was handed back to William in 1053. Other times Henry the French king wasnot that supportive. For instance, together with Geoffrey of Anjou they decidedto invade Normandy in 1054, but they gave up at Mortimer when part of theirforce forced them to due to the fear of Normandy’s organized force.
Not being satisfied with theoutcome, Henry and Geoffrey led another attack in 1057, Varaville battle, withdetermination William was able to defeat them again. In 1050, William married the daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders, MatildaFlanders. The union strengthened William’s status because his father in-law happenedto be one of the most powerful French leaders, with ties to the German emperorsand the French royal house.WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR’S SKILLSA ruthless leaderWhen his cousin led a rebellion against him he asked for supportfrom the French king and won the battle thus. He then punished the rebels bychopping off their feet and hands to instill fear thus emerging as a ruthless leader.Socialable and born skilled leader He was able to unite his kingdom by all means.
For instance, Englishwas not his first language but, he influenced its the evolution by adding aslew of French and Latin words to the English dictionary. On the other hand he introducedskilled Norman administrators in his regime who were responsible for makingEngland the most powerful government in Europe.Wiseand strategic leaderHe wisely organizedhis solders at any given time of war. For instance, When Harold was crowned theking -with support by Witan council of English whose work was to decide thesuccessor, after the death of Edward the confessor .William decided to attack Englandand enforce his rightful claims of being the King.
He assembled an army on theFrench coast with the permission and request for reinforcement from the Frenchking who was always available whenever needed. The army waited for Halold’sarmy to return -very weak- from a war and he easily won the battleAuthoritativeLeaderHe imposed his authority by forcing the north tounite -laying waste to their villages, destroying farmlands and robbingagricultural communities of their livelihoods thus famine struck making them eatingcats, dogs, and even human flesh to survive. After a series of rebellions theygave in thus he managed to unite England, under his authority.