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William the Conqueror

King William I of England

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William the Conqueror belonged to the Norman Dynasty. Born in 1027, he ascended to the throne in 1066 and died in 1087. He won the crown by defeating King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, thereby founding his dynasty, and was succeeded by William II.

As the son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy, William inherited the duchy at the age of 8 in 1035. King Edward the Confessor of England promised the crown to William in 1051, but on his deathbed, he made his brother-in-law Harold his successor. An election by the nobles supported Harold as well.

William immediately invaded England, defeating the English force and killing Harold at Hastings. He was crowned on Christmas Day, 1066, at Westminster Abbey.

William established the feudal system in England, where all land was held as a fief of higher noble in a chain that eventually reached the king at the top. At Salisbury in 1086, William made all the landholders swear allegiance to him. He also ordered the writing of the Domesday Book.

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