William I

William I
1. ("the Conqueror") 1027-87, duke of Normandy 1035-87; king of England 1066-87 (son of Robert I, duke of Normandy).
2. Also, Willem I. (William I of Orange) ("the Silent") 1533-84, Dutch leader, statesman, and revolutionary leader born in Germany: prince of Orange 1544-84; count of Nassau 1559-84; 1st stadholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands 1578-84.
3. Also, Wilhelm I. (Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig) 1797-1888, King of Prussia 1861-88; emperor of Germany 1871-88 (brother of Frederick William IV).

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Dutch Willem Frederik

born Aug. 24, 1772, The Hague, United Provinces of the Netherlands
died Dec. 12, 1843, Berlin, Prussia

King of The Netherlands and grand duke of Luxembourg (1815–40).

Son of William V, prince of Orange, he married in 1791 and immigrated with his family to England after the French invasion of the Dutch Republic (1795). He sided with Prussia against Napoleon and lived in exile at the Prussian court until 1812. After the Dutch revolt against French rule, he became sovereign prince of the Dutch Republic (1813) and king of the United Netherlands (1815), which included Belgium, Liège, and Luxembourg. He led an economic recovery program that sparked a commercial revival, but his autocratic methods and imposition of Dutch as the official language provoked a revolt by Belgium (1830) that led to its independence. In 1840 he abdicated in favour of his son, William II.
Dutch Willem known as William the Silent

born April 24, 1533, Dillenburg, Nassau
died July 10, 1584, Delft, Holland

First stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands (1572–84).

Son of William, count of Nassau-Dillenburg, he inherited the principality of Orange and other vast estates from his cousin in 1544. He was educated at the Habsburg imperial court in Brussels, then appointed by Philip II to the council of state (1555). He helped negotiate the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, earning his byname for keeping silent about secret policy decisions, and was named stadtholder (governor) in Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht in 1559. Increasingly opposed to Philip's strict ordinances against Protestants, he led a revolt in 1568 that proved unsuccessful, but in 1572 he succeeded in uniting the northern provinces. He was proclaimed their stadtholder, and his position was solidified by the Pacification of Ghent (1576). He sought help from France in the revolt against Spain, and in 1579 he was outlawed by Philip. A reward was offered for his assassination, and in 1584 he was shot by a fanatical Catholic.
German Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig

born March 22, 1797, Berlin
died March 9, 1888, Berlin

King of Prussia (1861–88) and German emperor (1871–88).

Son of Frederick William III of Prussia, he fought in the war against Napoleon (1814) and thereafter devoted himself to the Prussian army and military affairs. He advocated the use of force against the rebels in 1848. The military governor of Rhineland province from 1849, he succeeded his brother on the Prussian throne in 1861. A conservative and a supporter of military reform, William insisted on a three-year term of military conscription, which the liberal lower chamber rejected in 1862. William was ready to abdicate but was dissuaded by Otto von Bismarck, whom he had installed as prime minister (1862). He cautiously supported Bismarck's policies in the Seven Weeks' War and the Franco-Prussian War. Proclaimed German emperor in 1871, he oversaw the continued rise of Germany as a European power.

born с 1028, Falaise, Normandy
died Sept. 9, 1087, Rouen

Duke of Normandy (1035–87) and king of England (1066–87).

Though born out of wedlock, he succeeded his father as duke of Normandy, subduing rebellions and becoming the mightiest noble in France. In 1051 Edward the Confessor promised to make him heir to the English throne, but on Edward's death in 1066, Harold Godwineson, earl of Wessex (Harold II), was accepted as king. Determined to assert his right to the throne, William sailed from Normandy with an invasion force, defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings, and was crowned king. The Norman Conquest was thus completed, though English rebellions continued until 1071. To secure England's frontiers, William invaded Scotland (1072) and Wales (1081). In 1086 he ordered the survey summarized in the Domesday Book. He divided his lands between his sons, giving Normandy and Maine to Robert II and England to William II.
known as William the Lion

born 1143
died Dec. 2, 1214, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scot.

King of Scotland (1165–1214).

He succeeded his father as earl of Northumberland (1152) but was forced to relinquish his earldom to England's Henry II in 1157. He succeeded his brother, Malcolm IV, as king of Scotland and in 1173 joined a revolt of Henry's sons in an attempt to regain Northumberland. Captured in 1174, he was released after submitting to Henry's overlordship. He bought his release from subjection in 1189. He continued to agitate for the restoration of Northumberland but was forced to renounce his claim by King John in 1209. William created many of the major burghs of modern Scotland.

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▪ duke of Normandy
also called  William Longsword,  French  Guillaume Longue-épée 
died Dec. 17, 942, Picardy [France]

      son of Rollo and second duke of Normandy (927–942). He sought continually to expand his territories either by conquest or by exacting new lands from the French king for the price of homage. In 939 he allied himself with Hugh the Great in the revolt against King Louis IV; (Louis IV) through the mediation of the pope, the war ended, and Louis renewed William's investiture of Normandy (940). William, however, continued his territorial ambitions, especially northward. Drawn to a conference on an island in the Somme River, he was assassinated on the orders of the count of Flanders, Arnulf I.

▪ emperor of Germany
German  in full Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig  
born March 22, 1797, Berlin
died March 9, 1888, Berlin
 German emperor from 1871, as well as king of Prussia from 1861, a sovereign whose conscientiousness and self-restraint fitted him for collaboration with stronger statesmen in raising his monarchy and the house of Hohenzollern to predominance in Germany.

      He was the second son of the future king Frederick William III of Prussia. In 1814 he fought at Bar-sur-Aube in the German War of Liberation against Napoleon I. Subsequently he devoted himself to the Prussian Army and military affairs. In 1840, on the accession of his childless elder brother, Frederick William IV, he became prince of Prussia and heir presumptive.

      When revolution broke out in Berlin in March 1848, the conservative William's advocacy of force earned him the sobriquet of “Kartätschenprinz” (Prince of Grapeshot). After a brief exile in England, he returned to Prussia in June 1848, and in 1849 he commanded the troops sent to suppress an insurrection in Baden.

      William's mistrust of constitutionalism was mitigated by the lessons of 1848, by his exposure to English political ideas, and by the influence of his consort, Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. (He married this witty and temperamental princess in 1829, after renouncing a youthful love affair with Eliza Radziwill.) Appointed military governor of Rhineland Province in 1849, he made his residence at Coblenz, a centre of opposition to the reactionary policies of Berlin. He described Otto von Bismarck's (Bismarck, Otto von) ideas as “schoolboy's politics.”

      From October 1858 William was regent for his ailing brother, and, on Jan. 2, 1861, William succeeded to the Prussian throne. As regent he made himself popular by proclaiming a “New Era” of liberalism, but he appointed a ministry comprising pronounced conservatives as well as moderate liberals.

      The problems raised for Prussia in 1859 by the wars for Italian independence were beyond his capacity: while he favoured an alliance with Austria against the France of Napoleon III, he insisted that Prussia have the supreme command on the Rhenish front; and the Austro-French armistice of Villafranca took him by surprise.

      On internal affairs William's fundamental conservatism reasserted itself. Backed by his war minister, Albrecht von Roon, and by the chief of the military cabinet, Edwin von Manteuffel, the King insisted on a three-year term of military conscription, which the liberal lower chamber rejected in 1862. William thereupon was ready to abdicate but was dissuaded by Bismarck, whom he installed as prime minister during this crisis.

      After the Prussian victory in the Seven Weeks' War against Austria in 1866, the King, despite their frequent disagreements, realized that Bismarck was more necessary to Prussia than he himself was. In 1870, when the Hohenzollern candidature to the Spanish throne was leading to the Franco-German War, William was far more cautious than Bismarck; during the war, he arbitrated between his chief advisers, Bismarck and Helmuth von Moltke. He was distressed by the Kulturkampf that Bismarck and the liberals conducted against the Roman Catholic Church, but in 1877, when Bismarck made his last appeal to be relieved of office, William answered: “Never.”

      William was so imbued with the traditions of the Prussian monarchy that it was painful for him to accept Bismarck's foundation of the German Reich and the imperial title, which came to him by a sham offer (arranged by Bismarck) from the German princes. William was acclaimed German emperor (not “emperor of Germany,” which he thought more suitable) at Versailles, in conquered France, on Jan. 18, 1871. General indignation at the two attempts made on his life in 1878 (by Max Hödel on May 11 and by K.E. Nobiling, who seriously wounded him, on June 2) was expressed in popular support for Bismarck's anti-Socialist legislation.

▪ king of England
byname  William the Conqueror  or  William the Bastard  or  William of Normandy , French  Guillaume le Conquérant  or  Guillaume le Bâtard  or  Guillaume de Normandie 
born c. 1028, Falaise, Normandy [France]
died Sept. 9, 1087, Rouen
 duke of Normandy (as William II) from 1035 and king of England from 1066, one of the greatest soldiers and rulers of the Middle Ages. He made himself the mightiest noble in France and then changed the course of England's history by his conquest of that country.

Early years
      William was the elder of the two children of Robert I of Normandy and his concubine Herleva (also called Arlette, the daughter of a tanner or undertaker from the town of Falaise). Sometime after William's birth, Herleva was married to Viscount Herluin, by whom she bore two sons—including Odo (Odo Of Bayeux), the future bishop of Bayeux—and a daughter. In 1035 Robert died while returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and William, his only son, whom he had nominated as his heir before his departure, was accepted as duke by the Norman magnates and by his overlord, King Henry I of France.

      William and his friends had to overcome enormous obstacles, including William's illegitimacy (he was generally known as the Bastard) and the fact that he had acceded as a child. His weakness led to a breakdown of authority throughout the duchy: private castles were erected, public power was usurped by lesser nobles, and private warfare broke out. Three of William's guardians died violent deaths before he grew up, and his tutor was murdered. His father's kin were of little help, since most of them thought that they stood to gain by the boy's death. His mother, however, managed to protect him through the most dangerous period. These early difficulties probably contributed to William's strength of purpose and his dislike of lawlessness and misrule.

Ruler of Normandy
      By 1042, when William reached his 15th year, was knighted, and began to play a personal part in the affairs of his duchy, the worst was over. But his attempts to recover rights lost during the anarchy and to bring disobedient vassals and servants to heel inevitably led to trouble. From 1046 until 1055 he dealt with a series of baronial rebellions, mostly led by his kinsmen. Occasionally he was in great danger and had to rely on Henry of France for help, but it was during these years that William learned to fight and rule. A decisive moment came in 1047, when Henry and William defeated a coalition of Norman rebels at Val-ès-Dunes, southeast of Caen, a battle in which William first demonstrated his prowess as a warrior.

      William soon learned to control his youthful recklessness. He was always ready to take calculated risks on campaign and to fight a battle, but he was not a flamboyant commander. His plans were simple, his methods direct, and he ruthlessly exploited any opportunity. If he found himself at a disadvantage, he withdrew immediately. He showed the same qualities in his government. He never lost sight of his aim to recover lost ducal rights and revenues, and, although he developed no theory of government or great interest in administrative techniques, he was always prepared to improvise and experiment.

      He was moral and pious by the standards of the time, and he acquired an interest in the welfare of the Norman church. He made his half brother Odo bishop of Bayeux in 1049 at the age of about 16; as bishop, Odo combined the roles of nobleman and prelate in a way that did not greatly shock contemporaries. Although Odo and the other bishops appointed by William were not recognized for their spirituality, they strengthened the church in Normandy by their pious donations and administrative skill. Presiding over numerous church councils, William and his bishops passed important legislation against simony (the selling of church offices) and clerical marriage. He also welcomed foreign monks and scholars to Normandy, including Lanfranc of Pavia, a famous master of the liberal arts, who entered the monastery of Bec about 1042 and was made abbot of Caen in 1063. William endowed several monasteries in his duchy, significantly increasing their number, and introduced the latest currents in reform to Norman monasticism.

      According to a brief description by an anonymous author—who borrowed extensively from Einhard's biography of Charlemagne (Vita Karoli Magni; “Life of Charles the Great”)—William was just above average height and had a robust, thickset body. Although he was always sparing of food and drink, he became fat in later life. He had a rough bass voice and was a good and ready speaker. Writers of the next generation agree that he was exceptionally strong and vigorous. He was a hunter and soldier, fierce and despotic, and generally feared; uneducated, he had few graces but was intelligent and shrewd and soon obtained the respect of his rivals.

New alliances
      After 1047 William began to participate in events outside his duchy. In support of King Henry and in an attempt to strengthen his southern frontier and expand into the western county of Maine, he fought a series of campaigns against Geoffrey Martel (Geoffrey II), count of Anjou. But from 1052, when Henry and Geoffrey made peace and a serious rebellion began in eastern Normandy, until 1054 William was again in grave danger. During this period he conducted important negotiations with his cousin Edward the Confessor, king of England, in which he was named heir to the English throne, and took a wife.

      Norman interest in Anglo-Saxon England derived from an alliance made in 1002, when King Ethelred II of England married Emma, the sister of Count Richard II, William's grandfather. Two of her sons, William's cousins once removed, had reigned in turn in England: Hardecanute (1040–42) and Edward the Confessor (1042–66). William had met Edward during that prince's exile on the Continent and may well have given him some support when he returned to England in 1041. In that year Edward was about 36 and William 13 years old. It is clear that William expected some sort of reward from Edward; thus, when Edward's marriage proved unfruitful, William began to develop an ambition to become his kinsman's heir. Edward, whose childlessness was a diplomatic asset, probably at times encouraged William's hopes.

      In 1049 William negotiated with Baldwin V of Flanders for the hand of his daughter, Matilda. Baldwin, an imperial vassal with a distinguished lineage, was in rebellion against the emperor, Henry III, and was in desperate need of allies. At the Council of Reims in October 1049, the emperor's cousin, Pope Leo IX (Leo IX, Saint), condemned the proposed marriage as incestuous (William and Matilda were evidently related in some way), but William and Baldwin were so eager for the alliance that the wedding took place before the end of 1053, possibly in 1052. In 1059 William was reconciled to the papacy, and as penance he and Matilda built two monasteries at Caen. Four sons were born to the couple: Robert (Robert II) (the future duke of Normandy), Richard (who died young), William Rufus (William II) (his father's successor in England), and Henry (Henry I) (Rufus's successor). Among the daughters was Adela, who became the mother of Stephen, king of England from 1135 to 1154.

      It is possible that William used his new alliance with Flanders to extort an acknowledgment from Edward that William was the English king's rightful heir. At all events, Edward seems to have made some sort of promise to William in 1051, the year in which Tostig (Northumbria, Tostig, earl of), son of the greatest nobleman in England, Godwine, married Baldwin's half sister. The immediate purpose of this tripartite alliance was to improve the security of each of the parties. If William obtained a declaration that he was Edward's heir, he was also looking very far ahead.

      Between 1054 and 1060 William was threatened by the combined menace of internal revolt and the new alliance against him between King Henry and Geoffrey Martel. Had the Norman rebels coordinated their attacks with king and count, it would have meant the end for William, but his own skill and some luck allowed him to prevail. After suppressing the rebels, William decisively defeated the invading forces of Henry and Geoffrey at the Battle of Mortemer in 1054. After a second victory, at Varaville in 1057, the duke was in firm control of Normandy. His position was secured even further when both Henry and Geoffrey died in 1060 and were succeeded by weaker rulers. Finally conquering Maine in 1063, William became the most powerful ruler in northern France.

 In 1064 or 1065 Edward sent his brother-in-law—Harold (Harold II), earl of Wessex, Godwine's son and Edward's eventual successor as king—on an embassy to Normandy to confirm Edward's recognition of William as his heir, according to Norman sources. While en route, Harold was captured by one of the duke's vassals; he was ransomed by William, who then took him on a campaign into Brittany. It was at this time, according to the Norman account, that Harold swore an oath in which he renewed Edward's bequest of the throne to William and promised to support it. This oath, and Harold's violation of it, would become the central elements of William's justification of his eventual invasion of England.

      When Edward died childless on Jan. 5, 1066, Harold was accepted as king by the English magnates, and William decided on war. He proceeded carefully, however, first taking steps to secure his duchy and to obtain international support for his venture. He took council with his leading nobles, bestowed special authority on his wife, Matilda, and his son Robert, and appointed key supporters to important positions in the ducal administration. He petitioned the pope in Rome and received the blessing of Alexander II, who was encouraged by Archdeacon Hildebrand (the future Pope Gregory VII (Gregory VII, Saint)) to support the invasion. He also appealed to volunteers to join his army of invasion and won numerous recruits from outside Normandy.

      Events outpaced William, however, as others moved more quickly. Tostig, Harold's exiled brother, raided England in May but suffered defeat at the hands of one of Harold's allies. In September Tostig joined Harald III Hardraade (Harald III Sigurdsson), king of Norway, in an invasion of the Northumbrian coast. Although ultimately unsuccessful, Tostig and Harald's attack had significant implications for the success of William's invasion in the south.

The Battle of Hastings (Hastings, Battle of)
 By August William had gathered his army and his fleet at the mouth of the Dives River. At this point he probably intended to sail due north and invade England by way of the Isle of Wight and Southampton Water. But adverse winds held up his fleet, and in September a westerly gale drove his ships up-Channel. William regrouped his forces at Saint-Valéry on the Somme. He had suffered a costly delay, some naval losses, and a drop in the morale of his troops. The delay, however, yielded a very important benefit for William: on September 8 Harold was forced to release the peasant army he had summoned to defend the southern and eastern coastlines, leaving them without adequate protection. On September 27, after cold and rainy weather, the wind turned in William's favour. William embarked his army and set sail for the southeastern coast of England. The trip was not without incident: William's ship lost touch with the rest of the fleet, but he calmed his crew by supping as if he were at home, and contact with the other ships was made not long after. The following morning he landed, took the unresisting towns of Pevensey and Hastings, and began to organize a bridgehead with 4,000 to 7,000 cavalry and infantry.

      William's forces were in a narrow coastal strip, hemmed in by the great forest of Andred, and, although this corridor was easily defensible, it was not much of a base for the conquest of England. The campaigning season was almost past, and, when William received news of his opponent, it was not reassuring. On September 25 Harold had defeated and slain Tostig and Harald at Stamford Bridge, near York, in a bloody battle with great losses on both sides, and he was retracing his steps to meet the new invader at Hastings. On October 13, Harold emerged from the forest, but the hour was too late to push on to Hastings, and he took up a defensive position instead. Early the next day, before Harold had prepared his exhausted troops for battle, William attacked. The English phalanx, however, held firm against William's archers and cavalry. The failure to break the English lines caused disarray in the Norman army. As William's cavalry fled in confusion, Harold's soldiers abandoned their positions to pursue the enemy. William rallied the fleeing horsemen, however, and they turned and slaughtered the foot soldiers chasing them. On two subsequent occasions, William's horsemen feigned retreat, which fooled Harold's soldiers, who were then killed by their opponents. Harold's brothers were also killed early in the battle. Toward nightfall the king himself fell, struck in the eye by an arrow according to Norman accounts, and the English gave up. William's coolness and tenacity secured him victory in this fateful battle. He then moved quickly against possible centres of resistance to prevent a new leader from emerging. On Christmas Day, 1066, he was crowned king in Westminster Abbey. In a formal sense, the Norman Conquest of England had taken place.

King of England
 William was already an experienced ruler. In Normandy he had replaced disloyal nobles and ducal servants with his friends, limited private warfare, and recovered usurped ducal rights, defining the duties of his vassals. The Norman church flourished under his reign, as he adapted its structures to English traditions. Like many contemporary rulers, he wanted the church in England to be free of corruption but also subordinate to him. Thus, he condemned simony and disapproved of clerical marriage. He would not tolerate opposition from bishops or abbots or interference from the papacy, but he remained on good terms with Popes Alexander II and Gregory VII—though tensions arose on occasion. During his reign, church synods were held much more frequently, and he also presided over several episcopal councils. He was ably supported in this by his close adviser Lanfranc, whom he made archbishop of Canterbury, replacing Stigand; William replaced all other Anglo-Saxon bishops of England—except Wulfstan (Wulfstan, Saint) of Dorchester—with Normans. He also promoted monastic reform by importing Norman monks and abbots, thus quickening the pace of monastic life in England and bringing it into line with Continental developments.

 William left England early in 1067 but had to return in December to deal with unrest. The rebellions that began that year reached their peak in 1069, when William resorted to such violent measures that even contemporaries were shocked. To secure his hold on the country, he introduced the Norman practice of building castles, including the Tower of London (London, Tower of). The rebellions, which were crushed by 1071, completed the ruin of the English higher aristocracy and secured its replacement by an aristocracy of Norman lords, who introduced patterns of landholding and military service that had been developed in Normandy. To secure England's frontiers, he invaded Scotland in 1072 and Wales in 1081, creating special defensive “marcher” counties along the Scottish and Welsh borders.

      During the last 15 years of his life, William was more often in Normandy than in England, and there were five years, possibly seven, in which he did not visit the kingdom at all. He retained most of the greatest Anglo-Norman barons with him in Normandy and confided the government of England to bishops, trusting especially his old friend Lanfranc. He returned to England only when it was absolutely necessary: in 1075 to deal with the aftermath of a rebellion by Roger, earl of Hereford, and Ralf, earl of Norfolk, which was made more dangerous by the intervention of a Danish fleet; and in 1082 to arrest and imprison his half brother Odo, who was planning to take an army to Italy, perhaps to make himself pope. In the spring of 1082 William had his son Henry knighted, and in August at Salisbury he took oaths of fealty from all the important landowners in England. In 1085 he returned with a large army to meet the threat of an invasion by Canute IV (Canute the Holy) of Denmark. When this came to nothing, owing to Canute's death in 1086, William ordered an economic and tenurial survey to be made of the kingdom, the results of which are summarized in the two volumes of Domesday Book, one of the greatest administrative accomplishments of the Middle Ages.

      Despite his duties as king, William remained preoccupied with the frontiers of Normandy even after the conquest. The danger spots were in Maine and the Vexin on the Seine, where Normandy bordered on the French royal demesne. After 1066, William's Continental neighbours became more powerful and even more hostile. Fulk the Surly succeeded to Anjou in 1068 and Robert the Frisian to Flanders in 1071. King Philip I of France allied with Robert, and Robert allied with the Danish king, Canute IV. There was also the problem of William's heir apparent, Robert Curthose (the future Robert II), who, given no appanage (grant of land from the royal domain) and seemingly kept short of money, left Normandy in 1077 and intrigued with his father's enemies. In 1081 William reached agreement with Fulk in the treaty of Blancheland: Robert Curthose was to be count of Maine but only as a vassal of Fulk. The eastern part of the Vexin, the county of Mantes, had fallen completely into King Philip's hands in 1077, when William had been busy with Maine. In 1087 William demanded from Philip the return of the towns of Chaumont, Mantes, and Pontoise. In July he entered Mantes by surprise, but, while the town burned, he suffered an injury from which he never recovered. He was thwarted at the very moment when he seemed about to enforce his last outstanding territorial claim.

      William was taken to a suburb of Rouen, where he lay dying for five weeks. He had the assistance of some of his bishops and doctors, and in attendance were his half brother Robert, count of Mortain, and his younger sons, William Rufus (William II) and Henry (Henry I). Robert Curthose was with the king of France. It had probably been William's intention that Robert, as was the custom, should succeed to the whole inheritance. Although William was tempted to make the loyal Rufus his sole heir, in the end he compromised: Normandy and Maine went to Robert and England to Rufus. Henry was given great treasure with which to purchase an appanage. William died at daybreak on September 9, in his 60th year.

      His burial in St. Stephen's Church, which he had built at Caen, was as eventful as his life. The funeral procession was disrupted by a fire in the town, a local noble complained that he had been dispossessed of the land in which William was to be buried, and William's body was broken as it was being forced into the stone coffin. The tomb itself was desecrated by Calvinists in the 16th century and by revolutionaries in the 18th.

Ed.Frank Barlow

      William left a profound mark on both Normandy and England and is one of the most important figures of medieval English history. His personal resolve and good fortune allowed him to survive the anarchy of Normandy in his youth, and he gradually transformed the duchy into the leading political and military power of northern France. His support for monastic reform and improved episcopal organization earned him respect from church leaders and further strengthened his hand in the duchy. His conquest of England in 1066 altered the course of English history, even though he adopted a number of Anglo-Saxon institutions and continued various social and economic trends that had begun before 1066. The English church was Normanized by William and brought more fully into line with developments on the Continent. William also imposed a new aristocracy on England that was French in language and culture; English language and literature and art and architecture were transformed because of William's conquest. The new king and his nobility were also very much involved with affairs in Normandy and France, and, therefore, the orientation of English royal policy shifted toward Continental affairs. New forms of land tenure and military service were established after the conquest, and castles dotted the landscape as a symbol of the new regime. As conqueror and king, William significantly shaped the history of England.


Additional Reading
The life and career of William are chronicled in numerous contemporaneous sources, most notably the Bayeux Tapestry. David M. Wilson (ed.), The Bayeux Tapestry: The Complete Tapestry in Colour (1985, reissued 2004), focuses on the conquest of England and the events leading up to it. Literary accounts of William's life and conquest are discussed in Marjorie Chibnall (ed. and trans.), The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, 6 vol. (1969–80); Elisabeth M.C. van Houts (ed. and trans.), The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumieges, Orderic Vitalis and Robert of Torigni, 2 vol. (1992–95); and Dorothy Whitelock (ed. and trans.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Revised Translation, rev. ed. (1961, reprinted 1986).David C. Douglas, William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England, new ed. (1999, reissued 2004); David Bates, William the Conqueror (1989, reissued 2004); and Frank Barlow, William I and the Norman Conquest (1965), are the definitive biographies. A useful study of William's duchy is David Bates, Normandy Before 1066 (1982). There is a vast literature on the conquest. Useful introductions are provided in Sten Körner, The Battle of Hastings, England, and Europe, 1035–1066 (1964); R. Allen Brown, The Normans and the Norman Conquest, 2nd ed. (1985, reissued 1994); and Dorothy Whitelock et al., The Norman Conquest: Its Setting and Impact (1966). The histories of postconquest England and Normandy are treated in Marjorie Chibnall, Anglo-Norman England, 1066–1166 (1986, reissued 1993); Robin Fleming, Kings and Lords in Conquest England (1991, reprinted 2004); and John Le Patourel, The Norman Empire (1976). Ed.

▪ king of Scotland
byname  William The Lion  
born 1143
died Dec. 4, 1214, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scot.
 king of Scotland from 1165 to 1214; although he submitted to English overlordship for 15 years (1174–89) of his reign, he ultimately obtained independence for his kingdom.

      William was the second son of the Scottish Henry, Earl of Northumberland, whose title he inherited in 1152. He was forced, however, to relinquish this earldom to King Henry II of England (reigned 1154–89) in 1157. Succeeding to the throne of his elder brother, King Malcolm IV, in 1165, William joined a revolt of Henry's sons (1173) in an attempt to regain Northumberland. He was captured near Alnwick, Northumberland, in 1174 and released after agreeing to recognize the overlordship of the king of England and the supremacy of the English church over the Scottish church.

      Upon Henry's death in 1189, William obtained release from his feudal subjection by paying a large sum of money to England's new king, Richard I (reigned 1189–99). In addition, although William had quarreled bitterly with the papacy over a church appointment, Pope Celestine III ruled in 1192 that the Scottish church owed obedience only to Rome, not to England. During the reign of King John in England, relations between England and Scotland deteriorated over the issue of Northumberland until finally, in 1209, John forced William to renounce his claims.

      In his effort to consolidate his authority throughout Scotland, William developed a small but efficient central administrative bureaucracy. He chartered many of the major burghs of modern Scotland and in 1178 founded Arbroath Abbey, which had become probably the wealthiest monastery in Scotland by the time of his death. William was succeeded by his son Alexander II.

▪ king of Sicily
byname  William The Bad,  Italian  Guglielmo Il Malo 
born 1120
died May 7, 1166, Palermo, kingdom of Sicily [Italy]

      Norman king of Sicily, an able ruler who successfully repressed the conspiracies of the barons of his realm. His epithet was bestowed on him by his hapless enemies. He patronized science and letters and showed religious tolerance; among those who frequented his court were many Muslims.

      The deaths of William's three elder brothers made him heir apparent in 1148. He was associated in kingship in 1151 with his father, Roger II, and was crowned king after Roger's death in the Cathedral of Palermo on Easter Sunday, April 4, 1154.

      On the advice of his minister, Maione of Bari, William energetically pursued his father's policy of strengthening royal authority over the towns and the barons, who rallied around his cousin Robert of Loritello and looked to the German king Frederick I Barbarossa for help. When Frederick's projected expedition to Italy came to naught, the rebels sought support from the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus. In 1155 the Byzantines invaded southern Italy and overran Apulia, but William won a resounding victory at Brindisi and reconquered the province. He next settled his disputes with Pope Adrian IV in the Concordat of Benevento (1156), winning papal acknowledgment of his authority over all the territories that had come under Norman control.

      The loss of the kingdom's African possessions (1158–60) weakened William's prestige, and the assassination of Maione in November 1160 exposed him to new danger from the conspiring barons, led by a Norman noble, Matteo Bonello. An attempt to depose him nearly succeeded, and rebellions broke out in Sicily and on the mainland. The royal palace in Palermo was plundered of its treasures, including the silver planisphere of the great Arab geographer al-Idrīsī, who was forced to flee Sicily as the island's Muslims became targets of mob attacks. But William quickly suppressed the disorders. He imposed stern punishment on the dissidents, who this time received no help from abroad. At his death his kingdom passed intact to his young son, William II.

▪ king of The Netherlands
Dutch  in full Willem Frederik  
born Aug. 24, 1772, The Hague
died Dec. 12, 1843, Berlin
 king of The Netherlands and grand duke of Luxembourg (1815–40) who sparked a commercial and industrial revival following the period of French rule (1795–1813), but provoked the Belgian revolt of 1830 through his autocratic methods.

      The son of William V, prince of Orange, William married Wilhelmina, daughter of his uncle, Frederick William II of Prussia, in 1791 and emigrated with his family to England in 1795 after the French invasion of the Dutch Republic. He gained title to the bishopric of Fulda and other smaller areas in Germany in negotiations with the French emperor Napoleon I in 1802 but lost all his German titles in 1806, when he sided with Prussia against Napoleon. Except for some service with the Austrians against Napoleon in 1809, he lived in exile at the Prussian court until 1812.

      After the French withdrawal from the Netherlands in 1813, William accepted the provisional government's offer to become sovereign prince of the Dutch Republic, and in 1815 he became king of the United Netherlands, which included the southern Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He soon undertook an economic recovery program for the kingdom, founding a bank in 1822 to finance industrial expansion in Belgium and forming The Netherlands Trading Society in 1824 to facilitate long-distance commerce in the north. Many of the inhabitants of the southern (Belgian) provinces, however, objected to the union with the northern Netherlanders because the two groups were given equal representation in the Parliament and charged equal taxes, although the Dutch had a far greater accumulated debt and a far smaller population.

      The southern Catholic clergy were alienated by William's policy of state supremacy in ecclesiastical matters. He placed the universities of Ghent, Louvain, and Liège under state control and required seminary students to attend a new “philosophical college” at Louvain. The southerners were further antagonized by the decision to make Dutch the administrative language throughout the kingdom and by the Dutch insistence on free trade when protection was needed by southern industries.

      The southern liberal and Catholic factions opposed to William's rule joined in 1828 (the “union of parties”) and petitioned the King for political and religious reforms. Inspired by the revolution in Paris in July 1830 (1830, Revolutions of), a rebellion broke out in Brussels the following month. After initial rebel military successes, a conference of the leading European powers decided in January 1831 that Belgium should be an independent state. William refused to accept the Belgian separation and anticipated renewed warfare. The resistance lasted until 1839, when he finally bowed to the demands of the great powers and conceded Belgian independence. Aware that the Dutch people were increasingly opposed to his autocratic methods, he abdicated in October 1840 and spent the rest of his life in Berlin.

▪ stadholder of United Provinces of The Netherlands
in full  William, prince of Orange, count of Nassau,  byname  William the Silent,  Dutch  Willem, prins van Oranje, graaf van Nassau , or  Willem de Zwijger 
born April 24, 1533, Dillenburg, Nassau
died July 10, 1584, Delft, Holland

      first of the hereditary stadtholders (1572–84) of the United Provinces of the Netherlands and leader of the revolt of the Netherlands against Spanish rule and the Catholic religion.

Family and inheritance
      William, the eldest son of William, count of Nassau-Dillenburg, grew up in a cultivated Lutheran environment. Far richer than his father's ancestral possessions in the region of the Lahn River in Nassau were the estates that, since 1404, another branch of the family had obtained in Brabant and elsewhere in the Low Countries, where its main seat was at Breda. At the time of William's birth, the Brabant branch was represented by his father's elder brother Henry and by Henry's only son, René, who in 1530 had inherited from a maternal uncle the domains of the House of Chalon-Arlay, so becoming the greatest seigneur of the Franche-Comté and ruler of the Provençal principality of Orange. René of Orange was killed in 1544, leaving the combined wealth of the houses of Nassau-Breda and of Chalon-Orange to his cousin William, then aged 11.

      In view of the importance of this heritage, the lord of the Burgundian Netherlands, the Habsburg emperor Charles V, stipulated that William's parents should renounce his guardianship and that the young prince should be educated in his new fatherland as a Catholic. So William passed his formative years at Breda and Brussels, under the guidance of suitable tutors, and was duly imbued with the principles proper to a youth of his standing. French became his daily language, and he acquired a colloquial command of Dutch.

      In spite of his immense landed property, his financial circumstances were straitened from the beginning. Scarcity of liquid assets continued to hamper him, even after his marriage (July 8, 1551) to a wealthy heiress, Countess Anne of Egmond-Buren, who brought him several additional baronies, mainly in Holland. These “structural” pecuniary straits he shared with most of his class and with the Burgundian government itself.

      A favourite with Charles V and with the court at Brussels, the Prince faithfully discharged the social, military, and diplomatic duties that were expected of him. He continued to do so under Philip II, the Emperor's son and successor as king of Spain and lord of the Burgundian dominions. Together with his later enemies Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle (Granvelle, Antoine Perrenot de), bishop of Arras, and the duke of Alba (Alba, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, 3er duque de (3rd duke of)), he was a negotiator of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (Cateau-Cambrésis, Peace of) (1559), which, in ending prolonged strife between Burgundy-Habsburg and France, released from French occupation his princedom of Orange and made the Netherlands accessible to Calvinist preachers from France. Philip II, at his accession in 1555, had admitted William to the Council of State, and, now before his departure to Spain, the King appointed him his stadtholder (governor and commander in chief) in Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht (August 1559) and afterward in Franche-Comté (February 1561).

Loyal opposition to the King's government
      From about 1561 William, the prince of Orange, together with other great lords who felt themselves excluded from their rightful share in the country's government, began to protest openly against the conduct of the Brussels administration, in which Granvelle, the principal adviser of the regent Margaret, duchess of Parma, was the most powerful figure. At first religious questions were not prominent among the causes of discontent, but they gradually became so with the spread of Protestant ideas and the determination of Philip II not to tolerate any deviation from the strictest Catholic orthodoxy. The Prince and his associates, in varying degrees influenced by the comprehensive views of the Humanist Desiderius Erasmus, shared in this respect the feelings of the majority of their countrymen, who, while remaining conventional Roman Catholics, resented religious persecution. Besides, several of the nobles had, as had William, friends and parents among the Protestants. On Aug. 25, 1561, the Prince, a widower since 1558, reinforced his Lutheran and German connections by taking as his second wife Anna of Saxony.

      In the mind of William, the prince of Orange, the religious issue gradually assumed paramount importance. In a sensational speech in the Council of State, he argued that it was not feasible to enforce religious unity and that it was not right for princes to presume to rule over the consciences of their subjects. But the King in October 1565 gave strict orders that the ordinances against heretics should be inexorably applied.

      Consequently, the situation became increasingly dangerous. The leadership of the opposition was now taken over by a confederation of lesser nobles and gentlemen, some of them Calvinists (Calvinism), who were more desperate than the grandees and less averse to a violent solution; they and their followers soon came to be called the Gueux (Geuzen) (Beggars). The great lords kept aloof, but William and a few others showed sympathy for the movement, with which the Prince was personally in touch through his brother, Count Louis of Nassau, a Lutheran with Calvinistic leanings. Orange persuaded the confederates not to resort to armed action but instead to petition the regent Margaret for a suspension of the decrees against Protestants. The Duchess did indeed promise a moderation of the anti-heretical measures, but it was already too late for minor relaxations to avert trouble. Misery caused by the economic depression contributed to the violent explosions of religious fanaticism that shook the Low Countries in August 1566. Calvinist mobs forcibly entered churches, smashing the images and destroying the furnishings. Besides causing irreparable damage, these excesses had a threefold effect: peaceful coexistence of Catholics and Protestants became more difficult; the opposition movement was weakened because its responsible members felt it necessary to defend the church; and, finally, it caused King Philip to resort to force in an attempt to crush heresy and rebellion at one blow. To this end, in December 1566, he appointed the duke of Alba as his captain general in the Netherlands.

      Orange seems to have contemplated immediate active resistance but in the end did nothing because the popular hero Lamoral, count of Egmond (Egmond, Lamoraal, count van), stadtholder of Flanders and Artois, would not support him. William allowed the Protestants, now openly rebellious, to hail him as their defender, but he upheld public order. As hereditary viscount of Antwerp he quelled an insurrection of the numerous Calvinists there, and he kept the city gates closed to rebels and government forces alike. He protested his loyalty to the king, yet he refused to take the new oath of unconditional obedience that the Regent required from all officeholders and prudently retired in April 1567 to the family seat at Dillenburg. Many thousands followed William's example or had preceded him; a general exodus to England, Germany, and France took place.

Open revolt and alliance with Calvinism
      By May 1567 order was everywhere restored. Nevertheless, in August Alba entered Brussels at the head of a well-trained army and inaugurated a reign of terror. In September a special court, the Council of Troubles (Troubles, Council of), was set up to try all cases of rebellion and heresy, and more than 1,000 executions took place (including those of the counts of Egmond and Hoorne). Orange, summoned to appear before the court, replied with a dignified Justification of his conduct. But his possessions in Philip's dominions were confiscated, and his son Philip William, a student at Leuven (Louvain), was deported to Spain.

      Once again the cause of liberty, no less than that of religion, was clearly seen to be at stake. The opposition, however secret, became much more widespread, and Orange was justified in expecting a general rising when he should appear as a liberator. He saw his own fortunes irrevocably bound up with those of the Netherlands, and he no longer hesitated to proceed to military action. Though disappointed in his hopes of substantial support from the Lutheran German princes (he himself had reverted to the creed of his childhood) or from the emperor Maximilian II, he managed, mainly through the aid of his relatives, to raise a number of troops. In April 1568 two invasions of the Low Countries were inaugurated, but both badly miscarried. One of the attacking forces was destroyed by Alba on the banks of the Ems River. The Prince himself took the field in the beginning of October and marched toward Brabant, but the expected rising did not materialize, and he was obliged to retire to France. There he stayed for a time with the Huguenots, the Calvinist party then in rebellion against the royal government, before returning, in October 1569, to Germany. His brother Count Louis remained in France as his personal representative. The abortive campaigns had at least popularized Orange as the champion against oppression. The Calvinists were ready to forgive him for failing to take up arms in 1566, while he had come to appreciate them as the hardcore of the resistance movement, though he disliked their Puritanism and intolerance. Moreover, Calvinism was an “international” power, and from its adherents in Germany and France he had hitherto received his most effective support. So a rapprochement took place, but it was not until 1573 that he finally joined the Reformed Church.

      These were his darkest years. With Alba securely in power and his own designs frustrated, having lost a brother (Adolph) and many of his friends, and bereft of his son, his estates, and his offices, he was also harassed by financial difficulties and by the wayward conduct of his wife, Anna of Saxony, whom he divorced in 1571. Orangist propaganda was active, but military operations were mainly confined to the exploits of the Sea Beggars, who had taken to the sea to combat the King of Spain from foreign bases. Their blockading activities contributed to the economic malaise in the Netherlands and so to the discontent nourished by Alba's harsh administration. This was especially the case in the seafaring province of Holland.

      For the summer of 1572 Orange planned a number of coordinated attacks, counting on help from France, but on April 1, well ahead of any officially planned move, a fleet of Sea Beggars, driven from English ports, surprised and captured the port of Brielle (Den Briel) in Zuid-Holland. Their success triggered off the desired popular rising in Holland and Zeeland, most towns declaring themselves for the Prince, so that by July only Amsterdam, Middelburg, and two other towns in Zeeland remained in loyalist hands. On the initiative of Orange, the provincial States of Holland met at Dordrecht (July 19–23) and recognized the Prince as still being their stadtholder, nominally on behalf of the King, and they themselves assumed an effective share in the government. Equal rights for Catholics and Calvinists were proclaimed, pending a decision by the States General, the joint assembly of all the provinces.

      Meanwhile, large parts of Gelderland and Friesland joined the revolt, as Alba and his army were retained in the south to counter the main attack, which had been launched from France. Louis of Nassau had captured Mons and was besieged there by the Spanish. Orange himself marched into Brabant, and several towns opened their gates to him. Hopes of French support were soon dashed, however, when the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day destroyed Huguenot influence at the French court. Louis was obliged to capitulate in September, and Orange disbanded his mercenaries. The fighting in the south had at least provided breathing space for the rebellious northern provinces to consolidate their position. The Prince decided to join them, landing at Enkhuizen on October 21.

      For four heroic years (1572–76), William, the prince of Orange, led the desperate resistance of the two maritime provinces (Holland and Zeeland) against the Spanish armies sent to subdue them. Two more of his brothers—Louis and Henry—fell in a serious defeat near Nijmegen in April 1574. Meanwhile, his agents were active in the subdued provinces, in England, Germany, and France, and on June 12, 1575, he married Charlotte of Bourbon-Montpensier, a former abbess who had joined the Reformed Church. The Prince needed all his authority, tact, and tenacity of purpose to hold his followers together and prevent their pursuing divisive interests. He tried to check the excesses and mitigate the intolerance of the Protestants but was unable to maintain the equality of the Catholic and Reformed churches that he had previously advocated, and in 1573 Catholic worship was forbidden. In the closer unions Orange brought about between the different parts of Holland (July 1575) and between Holland and Zeeland (April 1576), he was recognized as “Chief and Supreme Authority” for the duration of the war, but liberty of worship was specifically excluded, though liberty of conscience was recognized.

The Prince's triumph
      A temporary collapse of Spanish power in the Low Countries in 1576 gave the Prince a fresh chance. In the absence of a governor-general after the death of Alba's successor, Luis de Requesens y Zúñiga, and confronted with mutinous Spanish troops, the Council of State ventured to convene the States General. This assembly, pretending to act in the name of the King but in fact usurping viceregal powers, immediately opened negotiations with the rebellious provinces. The Pacification of Ghent (Ghent, Pacification of) (Nov. 8, 1576) was the result. It has been supposed that Orange's influence and agents were primarily responsible for this achievement. Certainly this peace, supplemented by the first Union of Brussels (January 1577), heralded the realization of his ambitions and ideals: not only were his governorships confirmed and his possessions restored to him, but the union of the so-called 17 Netherlands under a national government seemed about to be accomplished. But the idea of a “common fatherland,” though steadily growing, was not yet strong enough to overcome particularistic or religious divisions. Because of the Perpetual Edict of 1577, the treaty the States General concluded with the new governor-general, Don John of Austria (Juan de Austria), specified that the Roman Catholic religion was to be maintained all over the country, and because of the absence of provisions for the maintenance of the Pacification, the deputies of Holland and Zeeland left the assembly.

      In July 1577, however, Don John attempted to renew hostilities, thus driving more and more people to support the Prince. Those towns of Holland and Zeeland that had always opposed Orange or had been recovered by Spanish arms now recognized his authority; the last to accede (February 1578) was Amsterdam. The town and province of Utrecht followed suit, and in Flanders, Brabant, Groningen, and elsewhere, the radical Orangists, mostly Calvinistic burghers and craftsmen, gained the upper hand. In September 1577 the States General, to which the representatives of Holland and Zeeland had now returned, invited Orange to come south to Brussels, where he was triumphantly received. Under his influence a new union came into being, providing for joint action by both Roman Catholics and Protestants against “the common enemy of the fatherland.” Meanwhile, the States General, continuing to act with sovereign power, had formed a government headed by the young archduke Matthias, an Austrian nephew of King Philip. Matthias agreed to conditions laid down by the Prince guaranteeing a constitutional system of government. Moreover, in January 1578, Orange was commissioned to act as lieutenant general for Matthias.

The Prince's failure
      Orange was now at the zenith of his career, but his triumph proved as short-lived as was the general union of the provinces. His failure to consolidate the newly won unity was primarily due to the excesses of his Calvinist supporters who forcibly introduced popular and intolerant regimes. Thus, the revolutionaries played into the hands of King Philip's new governor-general, Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma. He was the son of the former regent Margaret, and on Oct. 1, 1578, he had taken office after the death of Don John.

      The Catholic but still anti-Spanish reaction made itself felt first in the southern, French-speaking provinces. Not unnaturally, when seeking for help, their thoughts turned to France, but it was on the Prince of Orange's advice that the States General in August 1578 adopted the Catholic Duke d'Anjou, brother of Henry III of France, as “Defender of the Liberty of the Netherlands.” Soon afterward, the formation of specific unions by smaller groups of provinces began to compromise the general union, which was irrevocably compromised in May 1579 when the Prince gave qualified support to the “Union of Utrecht,” whose main promoter was his brother John, stadtholder of Gelderland and a staunch Calvinist. On March 15 the Prince was outlawed by Philip II and a reward offered for his assassination. He answered the charges of treason with a vehement Apologie, written for him by his court chaplain, and he continued to put his trust in France. Against much Protestant opposition, he persuaded the States General in 1580 to give the Duke d'Anjou the hereditary sovereignty of the Netherlands, and in 1581 they solemnly renounced their allegiance to the king of Spain. Meanwhile, the provinces of Holland and Zeeland, unwilling to grant the French prince any direct authority, planned to create Orange their hereditary count.

      Anjou, however, far from aiding the cause of liberty, added to the prevailing confusion. With great difficulty Orange effected his reconciliation with the States General. His own continuing reliance on France is shown by his fourth marriage (1583), to Louise de Coligny, a daughter of the murdered Huguenot leader the Count de Coligny.

      As a result of the ban pronounced by Philip II, an attempt was made on the Prince's life at Antwerp in March 1582. With Parma advancing from the south, he retired in July 1582 to Holland, where he moved into his old quarters in a former convent at Delft. There, in 1584, he was shot by a fanatical Catholic, the Franc-Comtois Balthasar Gérard. His last words were a prayer for the people he had tried to lead for so long. The family seat of Breda being then in enemy hands, he was buried in the New Church at Delft.

Adriaan G. Jongkees Ed.

Additional Reading
A full account is Felix Rachfahl, Wilhelm von Oranien und der niederländische Aufstand, 3 vol. (1906–24). Other biographies include C.V. Wedgwood, William the Silent (1944, reissued 1989); K.W. Swart, William the Silent and the Revolt of the Netherlands (1978); and A.T. van Deursen and H. de Schepper, Willem van Oranje: een strijd voor vrijheid en verdraagzaamheid (1984). Also informative is G. Parker, The Dutch Revolt (1979).Michael J. Wintle

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Universalium. 2010.

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