Battle of Hastings (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Battle of Hastings marks the defeat of Anglo-Saxon forces by the French-speaking Normans and the decline of the Anglo-Saxon language and culture.
Summary of Event
In 1066, on the death of Edward the Confessor, the childless Anglo-Saxon king, there were three rivals for the throne: Harold Hardrada, king of Norway, who based his claim on his relationship to Cnut (also known as Canute) of Denmark, who had ruled England from 1016 to 1035; Harold Godwinson, accepted as heir to the throne by the dying Edward and by the Witan, the Anglo-Saxon assembly of nobles; and William, duke of Normandy, who based his claim on blood relationship as well as on promises from both Edward the Confessor and Harold Godwinson that the throne should be his.
William’s claim to the throne was no surprise. Edward, although English on his father’s side, had been born of a Norman mother and had spent his early years in Normandy. He included many Normans in his court and received frequent Norman visitors, William among them. William maintained that Edward had promised him the English throne when William had visited Edward in England. In addition, William based his claim on a promise he had exacted from Harold Godwinson himself when Harold had been held captive in Normandy after a shipwreck. William also had the support of the pope, who wanted to bring the English Church into closer ties with Rome.
(The entire section is 1296 words.)
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Battle of Hastings (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground battle in the Norman Conquests. Result: The hard-fought Norman victory of William the Conqueror over King Harold II led to the Norman conquest of England.
William, duke of Normandy, amassed an invasion force with the intent of claiming the English throne, which he considered rightfully his, from King Harold II Godwinson of England. On September 27-28, favorable winds made it possible for William and his army to sail across the English Channel from France. His forces came ashore at Pevensey in southern England, and William established camp at Hastings. The Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II, was in the north of England where he and his army had just defeated a Viking attack led by the Norwegian king Harold III Hardraade. The sudden news of William’s arrival caused Harold to march his weary troops quickly to the country’s south coast to respond to the Norman invasion and defend his kingdom.
Harold and his forces arrived at Hastings on the evening of October 13. Although Harold would probably have preferred to delay starting hostilities in order to rest his troops, the aggressive William seized the opportunity to launch an attack on the morning of October 14.
Although it might have been expected that the Anglo-Saxons would face disadvantages because of their quick march to the south, both sides began the climactic struggle on an even basis. The number of troops—about 8,000...
(The entire section is 620 words.)