A Brief History of the Normans | Animated History

So, who were the Normans? You might think they were French, but they were in fact descended from Norse raiders from Scandinavia. They settled in northern France in the ninth and early 10th century, calling their new homeland Normandy 150 years later, their leader, Duke William II, claimed he also had the right to the throne of England after the English King Edward the Confessor died in 1066. However, the king’s brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, also fancied the throne, and with William all the way in France, Harold took the crown for himself. Understandably, this didn’t go well with William, who raised an army and set sail for England, landing on the south coast on 28 September. Harold found out after giving another invading army of Norwegians a damn good thrashing at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire. He marched his army south and confronted William and the Normans at the Battle of Hastings. We all know what happened next, or rather most of it, on 14 October on a hilltop near Hastings Harold and the English were routed by William’s force, with Harold himself either being killed by a mounted knight or an arrow in the eye. William and his army made his way to London, and on Christmas Day he was crowned William I of England in Westminster Abbey. From here William and the Normans spread their influence all over Anglo-Saxon England, putting down revolts, replacing earls with his own barons and crucially building lots of castles to dominate and subdue the locals. By the time William died in 1087 he’d subjugated England, started to invade Wales and got the allegiance of the country’s main Lords and landowners. Also, forcing the ruling classes to speak French. All because he didn’t know how to speak English. Most impressive of all though is his body exploded at his funeral causing a rather nasty stench.

Comments 19

  • good work

  • Im not even from England and i love this chanel

  • My family gets our last name from the land granted from the Norman invasion: Newberry, originally Newbury. Cool to see this stuff!

  • hahaha

  • The normans who invaded England were french, the vikings settled in normandy centuries ago during this time they were surrounded by french people, the vikings goes french in mixing with them. In 1066 it was an invasion of French people, not viking

  • Thx for helping with homework

  • Dam my ansestors were bad ass

  • well done Henry!

  • The Normans were second and third generation descendants of Danish Vikings. Your illustration shows them coming to the British Isles from Norway.

  • Un normand qui imposa aux anglais de parler le français , il faut le faire ! En fait il y a eu peu de vikings en Normandie et ils se sont mélangés à la population locale. En 1066 guillaume le conquérant était déjà français de culture et Duc de normandie sous le controle du roi de france.

  • So basically, the English throne was Santa's present to William

  • Edward the confessor and william the conqueror are 1st cousins once removed

  • To clear up misinformation:

    "Rollo’s Scandinavian countrymen immigrated in large numbers to settle the country, and they adopted the French language, customs, and religion. These Vikings became known as Normans, and the region they settled became known as Normandy." – https://www.britannica.com/place/Normandy#ref143361

    (Not a few North-men, many…)

    "The Normans (from Nortmanni: “Northmen”) were originally pagan barbarian pirates from Denmark, Norway, and Iceland who began to make destructive plundering raids on European coastal settlements in the 8th century." –


    (People here keep claiming they were exclusively Danish, stop with this nonsense. History shows otherwise.)

    "Despite their eventual conversion to Christianity, their adoption of the French language, and their abandonment of sea roving for Frankish cavalry warfare in the decades following their settlement in Normandy, the Normans retained many of the traits of their piratical Viking ancestors.

    (They would take the name of where their ancestors derived from "Northmen". They were indeed integrated into Francia, over time and as more generations passed we could call them French but not forget or dismiss that they are ultimately from Scandinavian stock. Scandinavian DNA did not just vanish out of nowhere when 3-4 generations passed as that is not how genetic inheritance works. We identify them as NORMANS for that very reality as we did with groups like the Anglo-Saxons. We can call them English today, but we still historically address them as they were known to be Angles & Saxons.)

  • So funny but informative! I love this stuff. Gotta show my grandkids. Even if they think they're too old haha! Thanks EH🇬🇧✌🗡

  • THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I've been there on my bday when English Heritage found it

  • Too much background noise. 👎🏻

  • His body exploded?! What on earth?

  • I have been preparing for an exam in English history and 0:30 is EXACTLY how I need to remember Edward the Confessor so that I can always safely recall who he was xD

  • Was the Anglo Norman dialect born out of this invasion or did it exist before? I know the Normans probably didn't speak standard French, because if I remember correctly, standard French didn't yet exist at the time, and Normandy had it's own dialects.

    Also I'm curious did they really name the land Normandy, because I've always thought it was the French who called vikings "men of the North".

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