William the Conqueror began life as William the Bastard, the illegitimate son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy. Robert died during his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, leaving the 8-year-old William as his heir. William successfully gained the support of the French king, Henry I, and ascended to his father's office.Know More
In 1066, at the age of 38, William led an army across the English Channel to conquer England. He succeeded in this endeavor, defeating an Anglo-Saxon force at the Battle of Hastings, and was crowned King of England in 1087. The dynasty he founded first ruled as an occupation force but eventually intermarried with the native gentry and became Anglicized. William's government introduced feudalism to England along with a civil code of laws that largely supplanted the earlier Anglo-Saxon system. It also established French as the language of the English court. The Norman influence would eventually craft a fusion between English and Norman French that became the English language.
William became the first monarch to organize a full census of England, which became known as the Domesday Book. He also reorganized land ownership, tax law and property rights. William, who never learned English, eventually returned to France and died of wounds suffered at Mantes in 1087.Learn more about Middle Ages
At its peak in the mid-14th century, the Malian Empire was one of the largest and wealthiest of its era. Its largest city, Timbuktu, achieved international renown as a center of trade, culture and religion.Full Answer >
The Ghana Empire amassed large volumes of gold and resources, expanded trade among nations near and far, established a structured court system and introduced standard military organization. The Ghana Empire, also called the Kingdom of Ghana, enjoyed significant power from the ninth century to the 11th century A.D. Kings and rulers discovered significant gold deposits in the kingdom's lands, such as Mali, Mauritania and Senegal, and the newfound wealth helped rulers establish a powerful, prominent kingdom.Full Answer >
Confucius' (770 – 481 BCE) biggest achievement was founding Ru, a school of Chinese thought, to promote the philosophical ideals that have collectively become known as Confucianism. Confucius may be best known for the concept of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."Full Answer >
Among Eleanor Roosevelt's notable achievements are her championing of the Reform movement, the Settlement House movement and her tenure as an investigator for the Consumer League of America. Roosevelt fought to put power in the hands of everyday people and to check the advancing power of corporations and corporate interests.Full Answer >