The Middle Ages were a dark period full of wars and violence. Time of kings, knights and castle sieges. The politicians were more brutal, but warlords and the kings led the armies into battle themselves. Everything started when king Edward died. He had no children, so there were no heirs. The elections took place. Harold was chosen to be the next king of the country. He was not a relative or friend of the late king. Lots of other powerful people also wanted such power. Soon the Norwegian army invaded this land. Edward’s mother was from Norway, and Edward as a child also lived there. The Scandinavians believed they had more rights to the crown. King Harold died in battle. The well-known William the Conqueror became the next ruler of this land.
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A History of Britain by Fiona Beddall
It was 1066, and Edward, King of England, was dead. He had no children. The most important people in the country met to choose a new king. They chose Harold. Harold wasn’t a blood relative of King Edward, but he was the Queens brother. He was a popular man for the job.
But other powerful men wanted to be king too. One of them was the King of Norway, Harold Hardrada, and a few months after King Edward’s death his army invaded the north of England. King Harold of England went north, defeated the invaders and killed King Harold of Norway. But three days later, there was more bad news.
William of Normandy (in the north of France) was on the south coast of England with an army. ‘Before King Edward died, he chose me as the next king,’ he said. Perhaps this was true. Edward’s mother was a Norman, and Edward lived in Normandy as a child. He preferred Normans to the people of England. So Harold raced south with his army. William was waiting for him at Hastings. At the end of the battle, Harold was dead and William of Normandy was William the Conqueror, King of England.
The Normans weren’t the first people who invaded Britain. In 55 BC the great Roman Julius Caesar brought an army across the sea from France. For four hundred years, England was part of the Roman Empire. When the Romans first arrived, there were many different groups of people. Each group had its own king. They didn’t think of themselves as ‘British’, but the Romans called the people from all these groups ‘Britons’.
The Romans tried many times to conquer the areas of Britain that we now call Wales and Scotland. But they never kept control there. In the rest of Britain, the local people were much easier to control. But Boudica was different.
Her husband was a local king in the east of England. When he died in 60ad, the Romans tried to take all his money. Roman soldiers attacked Boudica and her daughters. Boudica was angry.
Soon she had an army of Britons behind her. They attacked Colchester, London and St Albans – the three most important cities in Britain at that time – and destroyed them completely. But in the end, the Romans defeated her…