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On October 13, Harold arrived near Hastings with his army, and the next day William led his forces out to give battle. At the end of a bloody, all-day battle, King Harold II was killed—shot in the eye with an arrow, according to legend—and his forces were defeated. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

On September 28, , six years after he led the Cuban Revolution and four years after the failed U. With Cuban forces no longer blocking civilians from On September 28, , people die in one of the worst maritime disasters of the century when the Estonia, a large car-and-passenger ferry, sinks in the Baltic Sea.

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The German-built ship was traveling on an overnight cruise from Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, to Sir Alexander Fleming was a young bacteriologist when an accidental discovery led to one of the great developments of modern medicine on September 28, Having left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had During his long career, Pompey the Great displayed exceptional military talents on the battlefield.

He fought in Africa and Spain, quelled the slave revolt of Spartacus, Sign up now to learn about This Day in History straight from your inbox. Although the Danes were bribed to leave the north, King Sweyn of Denmark and his ships threatened the east coast in alliance with various English, including Hereward the Wake until a treaty of peace was concluded in June Yet again, William moved swiftly and moved land and sea forces north to invade Scotland. The Treaty of Abernethy in marked a truce, which was reinforced by Malcolm's eldest son being accepted as a hostage.

William consolidated his conquest by starting a castle-building campaign in strategic areas. Originally these castles were wooden towers on earthen 'mottes' mounds with a bailey defensive area surrounded by earth ramparts, but many were later rebuilt in stone.

William the Conqueror: Crowned at Christmas

By the end of William's reign over 80 castles had been built throughout his kingdom, as a permanent reminder of the new Norman feudal order. William's wholesale confiscation of land from English nobles and their heirs many nobles had died at the battles of Stamford Bridge and Senlac enabled him to recruit and retain an army, by demanding military duties in exchange for land tenancy granted to Norman, French and Flemish allies.

He created up to 'honours' lands scattered through shires, with a castle as the governing centre , and in return had some 5, knights at his disposal to repress rebellions and pursue campaigns; the knights were augmented by mercenaries and English infantry from the Anglo-Saxon militia, raised from local levies. William also used the fyrd, the royal army - a military arrangement which had survived the Conquest. The King's tenants-in-chief in turn created knights under obligation to them and for royal duties this was called subinfeudation , with the result that private armies centred around private castles were created - these were to cause future problems of anarchy for unfortunate or weak kings.


By the end of William's reign, a small group of the King's tenants had acquired about half of England's landed wealth. Only two Englishmen still held large estates directly from the King. A foreign aristocracy had been imposed as the new governing class. The expenses of numerous campaigns, together with an economic slump caused by the shifts in landed wealth, and the devastation of northern England for military and political reasons , prompted William to order a full-scale investigation into the actual and potential wealth of the kingdom to maximise tax revenues.

The Domesday survey was prompted by ignorance of the state of land holding in England, as well as the result of the costs of defence measures in England and renewed war in France. The scope, speed, efficiency and completion of this survey was remarkable for its time and resulted in the two-volume Domesday Book of , which still exists today. William needed to ensure the direct loyalty of his feudal tenants. The Oath of Salisbury was a gathering of William's tenants-in-chief and other important landowners who took an oath of fealty to William.

William's reach extended elsewhere into the Church and the legal system. French superseded the vernacular Anglo-Saxon.

William the Conqueror

Personally devout, William used his bishops to carry out administrative duties. Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury from , was a first-class administrator who assisted in government when William was absent in France, and who reorganised the Church in England.

Having established the primacy of his archbishopric over that of York, and with William's approval, Lanfranc excommunicated rebels, and set up Church or spiritual courts to deal with ecclesiastical matters. Lanfranc also replaced English bishops and abbots some of whom had already been removed by the Council of Winchester under papal authority with Norman or French clergy to reduce potential political resistance. In addition, Canterbury and Durham Cathedrals were rebuilt and some of the bishops' sees were moved to urban centres.

At his coronation, William promised to uphold existing laws and customs. The Anglo-Saxon shire courts and 'hundred' courts which administered defence and tax, as well as justice matters remained intact, as did regional variations and private Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions.

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To strengthen royal justice, William relied on sheriffs previously smaller landowners, but replaced by influential nobles to supervise the administration of justice in existing county courts, and sent members of his own court to conduct important trials. More severe forest laws reinforced William's conversion of the New Forest into a vast Royal deer reserve. These laws caused great resentment, and to English chroniclers the New Forest became a symbol of William's greed.

Nevertheless the King maintained peace and order. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in declared 'he was a very stern and violent man, so no one dared do anything contrary to his will Amongst other things the good security he made in this country is not to be forgotten. William spent the last months of his reign in Normandy, fighting a counter-offensive in the French Vexin territory against King Philip's annexation of outlying Normandy territory.

Before his death on 9 September , William divided his 'Anglo-Norman' state between his sons. The scene was set for centuries of expensive commitments by successive English monarchs to defend their inherited territories in France. William bequeathed Normandy as he had promised to his eldest son Robert, despite their bitter differences Robert had sided with his father's enemies in Normandy, and even wounded and defeated his father in a battle there in His son, William Rufus , was to succeed William as King of England, and the third remaining son, Henry, was left 5, pounds in silver.

William was buried in his abbey foundation of St Stephen at Caen.

William the Conqueror Reassessed

Desecrated by Huguenots and Revolutionaries , the burial place of the first Norman king of England is marked by a simple stone slab. Critically, he also took measures to ensure Normandy would remain loyal while he was absent, including giving key allies greater powers.

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The fleet tried to sail later that year, but weather conditions delayed it, and William eventually sailed on September 27th, landing the next day. Harold had been forced to march north to fight another invading claimant, Harald Hardrada, at Stamford Bridge. Harald marched south and took up a defensive position at Hastings. William attacked, and the Battle of Hastings followed in which Harold and significant portions of the English aristocracy were killed.

William followed the victory by intimidating the country, and he was able to be crowned King of England in London on Christmas Day. William adopted some of the government he found in England, such as the sophisticated Anglo-Saxon exchequer and laws, but he also imported large numbers of loyal men from the continent to both reward them and hold his new kingdom. William now had to crush rebellions in England, and on occasion did it brutally. Even so, after he spent the majority of his time back in Normandy, dealing with recalcitrant subjects there.

The borders of Normandy proved problematic, and William had to deal with a new generation of warring neighbors and a stronger French king. Through a mixture of negotiation and warfare, he tried to secure the situation, with some successes.

The Normans (1 of 3) Men from the North

In William suffered his first major military defeat, to the King of France, at Dol. It is possible the father and son may even have fought in hand to hand in one battle. A peace was negotiated and Robert was confirmed as heir to Normandy. William also fell out with his brother, bishop and sometime regent Odo, who was arrested and imprisoned. Odo may have been about to bribe and threaten his way into the papacy, and if so William objected to the large number of troops Odo was planning to take from England to aid him.

While trying to retake Mantes he suffered an injury — possibly while on horseback - which proved fatal.