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    Medieval History

    Page 5

  • 1066-1087 William I, "the Conqueror," king of England.

  • 1085 King Canute of Denmark prepares to invade England. William of England orders the compilation of Domesday Book, hires a large number of mercenary soldiers and devastates the land along the east coast in England for five miles inland in order to give Canute no chance of plunder when once he lands.

  • 1085 Despite their regular payment of tribute, King Alfonso VI of Castile takes the great Muslim City of Toledo, with an immense amount of rich plunder.

  • 1086 King Canute of Denmark gathers an immense invasion fleet, but is assassinated while at prayer in the church at Odense by a Dane who disliked the high taxes the proposed invasion had occasioned. The invasion was called off, and Canute for no good reason other than the manner of his death was declared a saint.

  • 1086 The other taifa states of Spain promised King Alfonso VI higher payments, and he supposedly replied "I don't care about your payments, since I'm going to take everything you've got anyway." The taifa kings then called in a religious zealot from Morocco, Yusuf ben-Tushfin, leading an army of religious zealots called the Almoravids, or, in Arabic, al muribitun. King Alfonso met them in battle at Sagrajas, and had his army almost wiped out. He panicked and called for help from the French, threatening to escort the Almoravids through the passes on the Pyrenees Mountains into France unless they sent help.

  • 1086 William of England called the nobles together at Salisbury to have them swear the Salisbury Oath. This established that every vassal, no matter from whom he had received his fief, owed his liege loyalty to the king.

  • 1087 For some reason, William has kept the mercenaries he hired under the threat of invasion by Canute. William gathered his men and, for the first time, attacked his lord by driving straight up the Seine. When riding into the burning town of Melun, within sight of Paris, his horse reared at the collapse of a burning roof. When He came down, William's protruding stomach stuck the pommel of the saddle and something inside him broke. He was carried back to Fontevrault, where he took several days to die, in intense agony the entire time.

  • 1087 As the French troops began to arrive in Spain, King Alfonso discovered that Yusuf ben-Tushfin had taken his army back to Africa immediately after the battle, and that his own frontier commanders, Rodrigo Diaz, Alvar Fanyez, and Count Sisnando, had stabilized the situation. He had King Sancho Ramirez of Aragon lead the French troops in a long and ineffectual siege of the Muslim City of Tudela, and, so as not to make an enemy, married the two sons of the count of Burgundy to his two daughters, Henri married his legitimate daughter, Taresa; and Ramon his illegitimate daughter, Urraca. Alfonso gave Henri and Taresa the lands south of Galicia as a wedding present, which is how Portugal got started.

  • 1087-1100 William II Rufus, king of England. William was an irascible fellow and, when he got angry, he would get very red in the face -- which is where he got the name Rufus. He was killed in a hunting accident in New Forest on Christmas Day of 1100, by an arrow from the bow of Walter Tyrell. Some people suspected that it was a plot by his younger brother and successor, Henry, but Henry looked into the matter thoroughly and could find no evidence supporting the accusation.

    Medieval History Page 6