The descendant of Viking raiders, William the Conqueror, or William the Bastard as he was also known, took the throne of England in 1066. William showed himself to be an outstanding soldier and an extremely effective ruler, combining great fortitude with an unwavering insistence on his own authority. He was a formidable personality, whose political imagination and ruthlessness were the driving forces of the Norman Conquest of England. William’s achievements in both Normandy and England were set in an age of European change and turmoil. He could be cruel, greedy, and intolerant—a man who pitilessly stamped out all forms of opposition, and yet he was an accomplished leader in both England and Normandy. In fact, William brought about a number of positive changes. His later years were marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands, and by diﬃculties with his eldest son.
Spend a few minutes reading about this amazing man, and learn how he changed the face of Europe and started a new dynasty of English rule.