Saturday, November 13, 2010

William the Conqueror

Today, I met William the Conqueror! Luckily, I got the chance to ask him a couple of questions. Here's how that went:

Me: Wow! William, it's so wonderful to meet you! Mind if I ask a few questions?
William: No, not at all. Shoot.
Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself first!
William: I was born in 1028. Now, I was the Duke of Normandy. Being a descendant of the Vikings, people say I was cruel and tough. I can't say I disagree with them. Anyway, my relative King Edward of England died without an heir. He promised me the throne, so I took him up on that promise. Unfortunately, some people didn't believe me. Some clown named Harold thought he had the right to the throne, and was named king by a bunch of nobles. Ridiculous. 
William the Conqueror 
Me: So what happened?
William: I got the pope on my side, and I raised an army.  So I sailed across the English Channel to get to England. Then, at the Battle of Hastings, I defeated Harold. Then, I became the rightful king of England on Christmas Day of 1066.
Me: What were some of the things that you did?
William: I just wanted to have a wonderful reign. I set up fiefs with my Norman lords, and the Church. You gotta pay back your friends. Of course, I kept a lot of it for myself though. I made all of my vassels swear loyalty to me. Not keen on rebellion. Now, I also wanted to keep tabs on what was going on in my kingdom. So I made something called the Domesday Book, which I created in 1086. It was a census of pretty much everything you can think of: castles, fields, livestock, even fences! This helped me build an efficient and fair system of tax collections. I bet that my successors will create a royal exchequer to collect taxes and fines. All because of me. Basically, I was important because I created the first census, as well as a more unified kingdom for England. I also made a fair tax system form!
Me: Thanks for the story! 

William the Conqueror died in 1087, but his long-lasting impacts on the world can be seen today. The Executive Branch reflects some of what he did, using ranks (governor, mayor, president, etc).  

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