by Norman Descendants August 11, 2017

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The Birth of Normandy

Vikings in France: 9th - 12th century

Viking raids on the coast of France gradually evolve into permanent settlements. During the last decades of the 9th century, Danes are in possession of the territory around the lower reaches of the Seine. Early in the 10th century they are joined by a Norwegian who has already distinguished himself adventuring in Scotland and Ireland. His name is Hrölfr. He is known in western history as Rollo the Ganger.

Rollo became the leader of the Seine Vikings, by 911 he is strong enough to besiege the French city of Chartres. The siege ends when the Frankish king, Charles III, agrees at Saint-Clair-sur-Epte to grant Rollo feudal rights over the territory around Rouen.

Rollo Season 3
Rollo Season 3

The Viking word for a Scandinavian is Northman, which in medieval French becomes Normand.

Rollo the now Norman Viking and his successors rapidly expanded their territory beyond the original feudal agreement. Their dukedom in its larger boundaries become known as Normandy.

Rollo's descendants rule Normandy for two centuries until the male line dies out in 1135 with the death of Henry I. During this period they have become a formidable Christian force. Although Rollo was baptized it wasn't until his son William who fully committed to the Christian religion. This did not stop the Normans deep Viking restlessness for adventures outside of Normandy for centuries to come.

Norman Descendants
Norman Descendants

Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Viking conquerors lead by Rollo of the territory and the native Merovingian culture formed from Germanic Franks and Romanised Gauls. Their identity emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries.



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