Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, King John I


Born to Pepin the Short, King of the Franks in 742 C.E., Charlemagne originally had to share the throne with his brother Carloman, and this put the brothers on sour terms. When his brother died, Charlemagne was named sole ruler and heir of Pepin the Short. Charlemagne created the first Jury system and standardized money for all the people of his kingdom, once he wore the crown. Charlemagne also turned his castle into a University and a library. Scholars came from all over the world to read the books and scrolls in Charlemagne’s library. In addition to all this, Charlemagne created a totally Christian Empire. This was Charlemagne’s legacy to the world.   

William the Conqueror

William was just a Vassal when his cousin Edward died, who was also the king of England. Because of his relationship to Edward, William tried to seize the throne claiming Edward had promised it to him. When he failed, he gathered and army of 6000 men and conquered England instead. Once in charge, William ordered a census formed, counting every last chick in the country, so he knew how much he could tax people. He spent the first few years of his kingship to kill any resistance and secure England’s boundaries. William also replaced many English officials with Normans, from Normandy, his hometown. The last 15 years of his life were spent in Normandy, leaving the government to clergymen. He received major injuries due to a fall from his horse and died on September 9 1087, diving his land between two of his sons.

King John I

King John was son of Henry the Second and brother to Richard the Lionheart. He was placed on the throne in 1199 when his brother died. In 1202, John’s nephew was killed and the townspeople of Brittany blamed John and rebelled. John’s army was defeated and John had to retreat. In 1207, John had a quarrel with the Pope and was excommunicated. The pope then decided to stop all marriages and christenings without the pope consent. It was believed then that if you were not christened, you would not go to heaven and children born before marriage were condemned to hell. This put a strain on the people of England and they blamed John. In 1214, John lost a major battle to France, which resulted in England losing all of its possessions to France. Because of this, John raised taxes, and that only made two people happy…. John and his treasurer. The Barons were outraged. They joined together to right the Magna Carta, a document that secured John could not go back on English rights. When he tried to go back on the Magna Carta, the Barons declared war in 1216. That year, John lost all his treasure and fell seriously ill and died. He was succeeded by Henry the Third.