The Anglo-Norman Territories


The making of the Duchy of Normandy

Poster for the Millenium Festivals in Normandy, Rouen, 1911

Poster for the Millenium Festivals in  Normandy, Rouen, 1911.

Normandy was born in 911 out of the concession made by King Charles the Simple to the Viking Rollo of the lands located at the mouth of the Seine with the town of Rouen as its capital..

Between 911 and 933, Rollo and his son William Long Sword extended their power over the whole of the territory of the ancient ecclesiastical province of Rouen which was to incorporate within its almost unchanging borders one of the most powerful principalities of the Kingdom of France and one which still had links with the Nordic world.

Despite some difficult periods of minority, the long reigns of Richard I (942-996) and Richard II (996-1026) enabled Normandy to experience peace and prosperity more often than not. Ducal power was reinforced in the context of institutions which were largely inherited from the Carolingian period. At the same time, the population of Scandinavian origin was absorbed into the majority. Normandy belonged entirely to the Frankish world and to Christian civilisation, although it did not deny the contribution of Nordic traditions. At the beginning of the 11th century the Duke of Normandy exerted a strong hold over his Duchy and derived support from the church, which he both protected and controlled, and also from an aristocracy dependent on his family.

The frontiers of Normandy placed it in contact with Brittany in the west, Maine and, beyond this, Anjou in the south, the County of Blois and the domains of the King of France in the centre, and the County of Flanders in the east. The Duke of Normandy was thus, in turn, the ally or rival of the greatest lords of the kingdom. He was one of the most powerful vassals of the King of France, able to conduct his own foreign policy especially in the direction of England.

From the Vikings to the Normans
Rollo, leader of the Vikings of the Seine
Rollo, Count of Rouen (911-933)
The founders, the work of the first Dukes (933-1035)

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