What were the causes and effects of the Battle of Hastings?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Battle of Hastings was caused by a challenge to the throne of England. King Edward, who had no male heirs, had agreed that William of Normandy would be the next king of England. Before dying, however, Edward had a change of heart and named a powerful noble as the king. As you can imagine, this displeased William of Normandy. William successfully mobilized a Norman army and defeated the forces of Harold of Wessex, the man King Edward had appointed.

With the victory of William the Conquerer in 1066 and his ascendancy to the throne later in the year, the era of Anglo-Saxon England was over. French became the language of the court. Latin also grew in usage as the Roman church became more powerful. Those that spoke English were viewed as uneducated and backward. The combination of French, Latin, and the contemporary English would evolve to become Modern English. Another important development that occurred as a result of the Norman conquest of England was that feudalism became more deeply embedded in the society of England. This occurred because William granted land to the individuals that helped him to acquire the throne.