William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066 marked the removal of the Anglo-Saxons to the throne and opened the way to the establishment to the throne as the first Norman king. The consequences of this battle were amazing: they forever changed the way the English language was spoken.
1066 was marked by the near death of King Edward the Confessor, who had no successor, with many Europeans wanting to get on the throne after his death. It is believed that Edward, whose mother was originally from Normandy, promised the throne to his cousin, William, Duke of Normandy. However, the King changed his decision in the last moments of his life, naming his brother as his successor, Harold Godwinson Count Wessex. King Edward died on January 5, 1066.
The next day, Godwinson was crowned and became King Harold II of Westminster, keeping the tradition of the Anglo-Saxon kings, which have been on the throne for six centuries, from the time the Roman Empire disappeared.
King Harald Hadrada of Norway became interested in obtaining the throne and was exiled with his brother by the newly crowned king, who staged an invasion scheduled for September 1066. On September 25 the Battle of Stamford Bridge broke a ferocious confrontation after which both the king of Norway and its ally died.
Just days after this event, King Harold realized that he is again in danger, William the Conqueror initiating a proportions attack against him and holding an army of about 7,000 soldiers, to whom he added the infantry.
Haralds’s army and that of William clashed at a distance of about 7 miles from the city of Hastings, on 14 October 1066. For William, the battle was an unexpected success, and among the deceased was King Harold according to legend, who was struck by an arrow in the eye.
Since then, the 6 centuries of Anglo-Saxon government ended and the Norman conquest of England ended on Christmas Day, when William was crowned in Westminster Abbey, becoming the first king of Norman origin in England.
This event changed the history of England, but also world’s history forever. This territory entered in a strong connection with Scandinavia and also marked a cultural transformation of England. In the months that followed, the Normans began imposing castles that had the role of building the fortifications, but also to defend the Anglo-Saxon rebellions. Just months after his coronation, William started the beginning of the construction of the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. Moreover, using English labor, built enormous fortresses, which represented a model for future the Anglo-Saxon manor.
But the most important transformation was found in the spoken language. Immediately after the victory, he became predominant in French and the British monarchy’s motto is still the phrase in French “Dieu et mon droit”.
The Old English language used by the Anglo-Saxons looked like German and French language Normans combined with the language and thus was born the modern English. Words used by Normans were introduced in this new language and are used even today: beef, button, duke (lead), flowers, justice, marriage (matrimony), soldier.
French names were also highly used in England, a Henry and Richard becoming extremely common. In the thirteenth century, the name of William originated from the Germanic Wilhelm and was the most common surname among men across England. Even today, it is extremely popular and will become the name of an English monarch for the fourth time, when Prince William will get to the throne.