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William I the Conqueror (William the Conqueror, Guillaume le Conquérant), also called William the bastard (William the Bastard, Guillaume le Bâtard), (born circa 1028 in Falaise, died. September 9, 1087 in the monastery Saint-Gervais near Rouen), King England and Duke of Normandy. He was the illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy Robert I the Magnificent, also known as Robert the Devil. His mother was Herlev (or Herletta), probably the daughter of Fulbert, a tanner of Falaise.

William was the illegitimate origins often reproached him later, and the opponents gave him a contemptuous nickname bastard. William himself did not cut off from its origin in contact with half-siblings, and it amounted to a high dignity. He was very sore but if you wanted to call him a bastard. In later years, when the town of Alençon people derided illegitimate origins of William, Duke had arrested 32 people and cut off their hands and feet.

The exact date of birth of William is not known. It is understood that he was born in 1027 or 1028, probably in the autumn of the latter. In 1035 he was appointed heir to the throne by his father, who moved from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Duke Robert had no legitimate offspring, and a list of potential candidates for the throne was long. The Norman vassals reluctantly endorsed the intention of his prince. Resistance was due not so much Guillaume illegitimate origin, as his age (he was then 7 years). Illegitimate origin in Normandy at that time (and also in England) do not constitute obstacles to the throne.

Robert went on a pilgrimage, but he died during the return journey in Anatolia. Small William Duke of Normandy, was therefore under the name William II (fr. Guillaume II). Began the worst period in his life. Recalcitrant Norman barons it was difficult to restrain an adult, let alone a child. Worse, several representatives of the lateral line of the princes of Normandy, the family felt that it has a better right to the throne than William. Normandy was plunged into chaos. Barons, without asking anyone for permission, build their own castles and settlement of armed conflicts each other. Chaos fueled by the ruler of neighboring countries, especially France, King Henry I, interested in weakening of the duchy.

William, however, had more total followers. Many of them, as his guardian Gilbert of Brionne, guardian or seneschal Turold Osbern, his fidelity to the prince przypłacili life. The internal affairs interfere with the princely ruler ościenni. In 1040, Alan III, Duke of Brittany came to the conclusion that he should be the guardian of William and attacked Normandy. But he died suddenly (possibly poisoned) and his troops were just devastated country.

Meanwhile, William came up to the age of efficient and entered into an alliance with Henry and the French, who noted that his vassals has just begin to learn from vassals Duke of Normandy. In 1042, William Henry fit for a knight. Precise circumstances of time and take into its hands full of power by William did not know. It is understood that this was in the years 1042-1044. However, even starting a personal rule not meant pacification of the country. Baron, nawykli arbitrariness, reluctantly surrendered to the authority of the prince. Hence the numerous plots and attempts to rebellions made by Norman vassals.

The most dangerous of all plots was tied in 1047 rebelled when the western part of Normandy, subject to the influence of Prince's latest membership and a lot of differences to the eastern part, poddanej strongly influenced by French culture. In the West, endured a predominance of Scandinavian language and culture. Rebellion scheduled at a time when William was among his opponents. Duke survived by his fool, who overheard the conversation and told the conspirators. Thanks to this warning, William managed to escape the Falaise, where he could feel safe. He called together all the faithful vassals, but gained strength proved to be too slim to counter the rebels. Duke then turned for help to King Henry I, who did not refuse the aid. For a major encounter with the rebels was in the Val-ès-Dunes, where William defeated the army of rebels. In October 1047, Caen William threw his barons "Peace of God" and announced an amnesty for the rebels. Although his position was still too much has already been de facto ruler of the Duchy of Normandy.

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