Historical Connections: Monarchs, Barons, 17th Century Immigrants, Governors, a Witch, and a Polar Explorer
There are over 15,000 individuals listed within these family trees. Who is of interest to whom? Each of us is intrigued with different individuals for many different reasons. I have described below a variety of individuals, listed within categories, to whom I am related. For some categories, these are not comprehensive lists; the only thing all of these individuals have in common is that they are my ancestors. After each name, I have identified the specific relationship that this individual is to me. Each of the names is also directly linked to the database so that you can click on the name to go directly to the detailed information for the specific individual.
29 Nov 2008
Born about 932 and died between 972 and 975. King of Italy from 950 to 963. In 960, he joined his father in attacking Pope John XII. King Otto I of Germany supported the Pope and defeated Adalberto and his father. He retired with his wife to Burgundy where he died at Autun.
|Afonso I, King of Portugal>|
Born in 1073 or 74 and died 8 Sep 1134. Considered the founder of the nation of Portugal. On July 26, 1139, he won an overwhelming victory over the Moors in the Battle of Ourique, and was unanimously proclaimed King of Portugal by his soldiers, meaning that Portugal was now free from being under Leon.
Born 742 and died 28 Jan 814. Was King of the Franks from 768 to his death. He expanded the Frankish kingdoms into a Frankish empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800 as a rival of the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople. His rule is also associated with the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the medium of the Catholic Church. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne helped define both Western Europe and the Middle Ages. He is numbered as Charles I in the regnal lists of France, Germany, and the Holy Roman Empire.
Born 3 Jun 823 and died 6 Oct 877. Was emperor of the West (875-877) and king of the West Franks (843-877. The geographic area roughly corresponding to modern France was under the rule of Charles II. He was almost continuously at war with his brothers and their sons, with the Norseman (or Normans, as they came to be known in France), and with rebellious subjects.
Born about 497 and died in 561. On the death of his father, Clovis, in 511, Clotaire received, as his share of the kingdom, the town of Soissons, which he made his capital; the cities of Laon, Noyon, Cambrai, and Maastricht; and the lower course of the Meuse River. He was the chief instigator of the murder of his brother Chlodomer's children in 524, and his resulting share of the spoils consisted of the cities of Tours and Poitiers. He took part in various expeditions against Burgundy and, after the destruction of that kingdom in 534, obtained Grenoble, Die, and some of the neighboring cities. When the Ostrogoths ceded Provence to the Franks, he received the cities of Orange, Carpentras, and Gap. In 531, he marched against the Thuringii with his nephew Theudebert I and in 542, with his brother Childebert I against the Visigoths of Spain. On the death of his great-nephew Theodebald in 555, Clotaire annexed his territories. On Childebert's death in 558 he became sole king of the Franks. He also ruled over the greater part of Germany, made expeditions into Saxony, and for some time exacted from the Saxons an annual tribute of 500 cows.
Died 7 Feb 1072. He was one of the most important and significant Kings in Ireland in the pre-Norman era. His influence extended beyond the island of Ireland into the Hebrides, the Isle of Man and even into England. Diarmait belonged to the Ui Cheinnselaig, a kin group of south-east Leinster centred around Ferns. The return of the Vikings to Ireland in the early 10th century brought with it the creation of new towns on the coasts. Dublin came under the control of Diarmait and Diarmait installed his son, Murchad, as King of Dublin. The surviving sons of King Harold Godwinson of England escaped to Leinster after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, where they were hosted by Diarmait. In 1068 and 1069 Diarmait lent them the fleet of Dublin for their attempted invasions of England.
|Duncan I, King of Scotland>|
Died 14 Aug 1040. Unlike the 'King Duncan' of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the historical Duncan appears to have been a young man. He followed his grandfather, Malcolm, as king after the latter's death on 25 November 1034, without apparent opposition." Macbeth was most likely the power behind King Duncan's throne. In 1039, Duncan led a large Scots army south to besiege Durham, but the expedition ended in disaster. Duncan survived, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, traditionally seen as MacBeth's domain. There he was killed, at Pitgaveny near Elgin, by his own men led by Macbeth.
Edmund I (or Eadmund) 922 - May 26, 946), was King of England from 939 until his death. Shortly after his proclamation as king he had to face several military threats. King Olaf I of Dublin conquered Northumbria and invaded the Midlands. When Olaf died in 942, Edmund reconquered the Midlands. In 943 he became the god-father of King Olaf of York. In 944, Edmund was successful in reconquering Northumbria. In the same year his ally, Olaf of York, lost his throne and left for Dublin in Ireland. Olaf became the king of Dublin as "Olaf Cuaran" and continued to be allied to his god-father. In 945 Edmund conquered Strathclyde but conceded his rights on the territory to King Malcolm I of Scotland. In exchange they signed a treaty of mutual military support. Edmund thus established a policy of safe borders and peaceful relationships with Scotland. During his reign, the revival of monasteries in England began. Edmund was murdered in 946 by Leofa, an exiled thief. He had been having a party in Pucklechurch, when he spotted Leofa in the crowd. After the outlaw refused to leave, the king and his advisors fought Leofa. Edmund and Leofa were both killed.
|Edward I, King of England>|
Edward I (17 June 1239 - 7 July 1307), popularly known as Longshanks, was a King of England who achieved historical fame by conquering large parts of Wales and almost succeeding in doing the same to Scotland. Edward, at age 15, married Eleanor of Castile, age 13, on 1 Nov 1254, and would go on to have at least fifteen children. Her death in 1290 affected Edward deeply. He displayed his grief by erecting the Eleanor crosses, one at each place where her funeral cortege stopped for the night. He and his wife, Eleanor, participated in the Eighth and Ninth crusades. Edward was also largely responsible for the Tower of London in the form we see today, including the concentric defenses, elaborate entranceways, and the Traitor's Gate. One of King Edward's early moves was the conquest of Wales, which was incorporated into England under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 and, in 1301, Edward invested his eldest son as Prince of Wales. Since that time, with the exception of Edward III, the eldest sons of all English monarchs have borne this title.
|Eleanor of Aquitaine>|
Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine (1122-1 April 1204) was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in Europe during the High Middle Ages. Eleanor succeeded her father as Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Poitiers at the age of fifteen, and thus became the most eligible bride in Europe. Three months after her accession she married Louis, son and junior co-ruler of her guardian, King Louis VI. As Queen of the Franks, she participated in the unsuccessful Second Crusade. Soon after the Crusade was over, Louis VII and Eleanor agreed to dissolve their marriage, because of Eleanor's own desire for divorce and also because the only children they had were two daughters - Marie and Alix. The royal marriage was annulled on 11 March, 1152, on the grounds of consanguinity within the fourth degree. Their daughters were declared legitimate and custody of them awarded to Louis, while Eleanor's lands were restored to her. As soon as she arrived in Poitiers, Eleanor proposed to the eleven years younger Henry, Duke of Normandy. On May 18, 1152, six weeks after the annulment of her first marriage, Eleanor married the Duke of Normandy. On 25 October, 1154 her husband, Henry, ascended the throne of the Kingdom of England, making Eleanor Queen of the English. Over the next thirteen years, she bore Henry five sons, two of whom would become king, and three daughters. However, Henry and Eleanor eventually became estranged. She was imprisoned between 1173 and 1189 for supporting her son's revolt against King Henry II. Eleanor was widowed on 6 July, 1189. Her husband was succeeded by their son, Richard the Lionheart, who soon released his mother. Now queen mother, Eleanor acted as a regent for her son while he went off on the Third Crusade. Eleanor survived her son Richard and lived well into the reign of her youngest son King John. By the time of her death she had outlived all of her children except for King John and Leonora, Queen of Castile.
|Sverd i fjell>|
Harald Fairhair or Harald Finehair (c. 850 - c. 933) was the first king (872 - 930) of Norway. Little is known of the historical Harald. His life was described in several of the Kings' sagas, but the first of these were not written until the end of the 12th century, over 250 years after his death. The various sagas' accounts of Harald and his life differ on several points, and much of the content is clearly mythological. He is credited with having unified Norway into one kingdom. Modern historians assume that his rule was limited to the coastal areas of southern Norway. In 866, Harald made the first of a series of conquests over the many petty kingdoms which would compose Norway, including Varmland in Sweden, and modern day south-eastern Norway, which had sworn allegiance to the Swedish king Erik Eymundsson. In 872, after a great victory at Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, Harald found himself king over the whole country. His realm was, however, threatened by dangers from without, as large numbers of his opponents had taken refuge, not only in Iceland, then recently discovered; but also in the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Hebrides Islands, Faroe Islands and the northern European mainland. Harald was forced to make an expedition to the West, to clear the islands and the Scottish mainland of some Vikings who tried to hide there. The latter part of Harald's reign was disturbed by the strife of his many sons. He gave them all the royal title and assigned lands to them, which they were to govern as his representatives; but this arrangement did not put an end to the discord, which continued into the next reign. When he grew old, Harald handed over the supreme power to his favorite son Eirik Bloodaxe, whom he intended to be his successor. Eirik I ruled side-by-side with his father when Harald was 80 years old. Harald died three years later due to age in approximately 933. The number of sons he left varies in the different saga accounts, from 11 to 20. Twelve of his sons are named as kings, two of them over the whole country. The picture on the left depicts Sverd i fjell. Sverd i fjell (English: Swords in Rock) in Hafrsfjord in Stavanger, Norway is a monument by Fritz Roed from Bryne and was opened by Olav V of Norway in 1983. Three big swords stand in the hill as a memory to the Battle of Hafrsfjord in year 872, when King Harald Fairhair gathered all Norway under one crown. The biggest sword represents the victorious King, and the two smaller swords represent the defeated kings. The monument also represents peace, as the swords are stuck in the hill and will never be used again. (Monument description from Wikipedia)
|Harald III, King of Norway>|
Harald Sigurdsson (1015 - September 25, 1066), later given the epithet Hardrada ...roughly translated as "stern counsel" or "hard ruler", was the king of Norway from 1047 until 1066. He was also claimed to be the King of Denmark until 1064, often defeating King Sweyn's army and forcing him to leave the country. Harald was the youngest of King Olaf II's three half-brothers born to Asta. Harald took part, on the side of Olaf, in the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030. Although wounded, he managed to escape, leaving Norway in exile. He was able to form a band of warriors out of men who had also been exiled as a result of Olaf's death. In 1031 Harald and his men reached the land of the Kievan Rus where they served the armies of Yaroslav I, the Wise, the Grand Prince of the Rus. Harald is thought to have taken part in Grand Prince Yaroslav's campaign against the Poles and was appointed joint commander of defense forces. In September 1066, Harald landed in Northern England with a force of around 15,000 men and 300 longships (50 men in each boat). At the Battle of Fulford, two miles south of York, on 20 September, he won a great victory against the first English forces he met. Believing that the English King Harold Godwinson was prepared to surrender, Harald Hardrade confronted the English, with roughly half of his forces, to accept his claim to the English throne. At the Battle of Stamford Bridge, outside the city of York, England, on 25 September 1066, Godwinson's forces met with Harald's. Godwinson's English forces were heavily armed, heavily armored, and heavily outnumbered Harald's. Harald died fighting at this final battle against the forces of King Harold Godwinson of England by an arrow to the throat. His army was so heavily beaten that fewer than 25 of the 300 recorded longboats Harald used to transport his forces to England were used to carry the survivors back to Norway. Not long after his victory over King Harald, Harold Godwinson was defeated by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Harald was the last great Viking king of Norway and his invasion of England and death at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 proved a true watershed moment. It marked the end of the Viking age. In Norway, although he was at least nominally Christian, Harald's death also marked the beginning of the Christian era: the High Middle Ages.
|Henry I, King of England>|
Henry I (c. 1068/1069 - 1 December 1135) was the fourth son of William I the Conqueror, the first King of England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106. He was called Beauclerc for his scholarly interests and Lion of Justice for refinements which he brought about in the rudimentary administrative and legislative machinery of the time. Henry's reign is noted for its political opportunism. His succession was confirmed while his brother Robert was away on the First Crusade and the beginning of his reign was occupied by wars with Robert for control of England and Normandy. He successfully reunited the two realms again after their separation on his father's death in 1087. Upon his succession he granted the baronage a Charter of Liberties, which formed a basis for subsequent challenges to rights of kings and presaged Magna Carta, which subjected the King to law. The rest of Henry's reign was filled with judicial and financial reforms. He established the biannual Exchequer to reform the treasury. He used itinerant officials to curb abuses of power at the local and regional level, garnering the praise of the people. The differences between the English and Norman populations began to break down during his reign and he himself married a daughter of the old English royal house. He made peace with the church after the disputes of his brother's reign, but he could not smooth out his succession after the disastrous loss of his eldest son, William, in the wreck of the White Ship. His will stipulated that he was to be succeeded by his daughter, the Empress Matilda, but his stern rule was followed by a period of civil war known as the Anarchy.
|Henry II, King of England>|
Henry II (5 March 1133 - 6 July 1189) ruled as King of England (1154-1189), Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry was the first of the House of Plantagenet to rule England and was the great-grandson of William the Conqueror. On 18 May 1152, at Bordeaux Cathedral, at the age of 19, Henry married Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their relationship, always stormy, eventually died. After Eleanor encouraged her children to rebel against their father in 1173, Henry had her placed under house-arrest, where she remained for fifteen years. Like his grandfather, Henry I of England, Henry II had an outstanding knowledge of the law. A talented linguist and excellent Latin speaker, he would sit on councils in person whenever possible. His generosity was well-known and he employed a Templar to distribute one tenth of all the food bought to the royal court amongst his poorest subjects. Henry II's reign saw the establishment of Royal Magistrate courts. This allowed court officials under authority of the Crown to adjudicate on local disputes, reducing the workload on Royal courts proper and delivering justice with greater efficiency. Henry also worked to make the legal system fairer. Trial by ordeal and trial by combat were still common and even in the 12th century these methods were outdated. By the Assize of Clarendon, in 1166, a precursor to trial by jury became the standard. Trial by combat was still legal in England until 1819, but Henry's support of juries was a great contribution to the country's social history. In the tradition of Norman kings, Henry II was keen to dominate the church like the state. At Clarendon Palace on 30 January 1164, the King set out sixteen constitutions, aimed at decreasing ecclesiastical interference from Rome. Secular courts, increasingly under the King's influence, would also have jurisdiction over clerical trials and disputes. Henry's authority guaranteed him majority support, but the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury refused to ratify the proposals. Henry was characteristically stubborn and on 8 October 1164, he called the Archbishop, Thomas Becket, before the Royal Council. However, Becket had fled to France and was under the protection of Henry's rival, Louis VII of France. The King continued doggedly in his pursuit of control over his clerics, to the point where his religious policy became detrimental to his subjects. By 1170, the Pope was considering excommunicating all of Britain. Only Henry's agreement that Becket could return to England without penalty prevented this fate. Four of Henry's knights, Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton entered Canterbury Cathedral on 29 Dec 1170 and killed Becket. Just three years later, Becket was canonized and revered as a martyr against secular interference in God's church; Pope Alexander III had declared Thomas Becket a saint. Politically, Henry had to sign the Compromise of Avranches which removed from the secular courts almost all jurisdiction over the clergy. Trying to divide his lands amongst numerous ambitious children resulted in many problems for Henry. Weak, ill, and deserted by all but an illegitimate son, Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, Henry died at Chinon on 6 July 1189.
Elisaveta Yaroslavna of Kiev (in Norwegian: Ellisif or Elisabeth), (1025 - ca 1067), was a Rus' Princess of Kiev and a Norwegian queen, wife and queen consort of king Harald III of Norway. Elisaveta was born to Prince Yaroslav I of Kiev and Princess Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden. She was the sister of Anne of Kiev, queen and regent of France, and Anastasia of Kiev, queen of Hungary. During the winter of 1043-44, Elisaveta was married to Prince Harald Sigurdsson of Norway, who was in service of her father at the time. In 1045, she followed Harald to Norway, were he became king and she became queen of Norway. In Norway, she was called Queen Elisiv or Ellisif. In 1047, her husband was the sole ruler, and in 1048, Harald took another wife, Tora Torbergsdotter.
|Louis VII, King of France>|
Louis VII (1120 - 18 September 1180) was King of France, the son and successor of Louis VI. He ruled from 1137 until his death. He was a member of the House of Capet. His reign was dominated by feudal struggles (in particular with the Angevin family), and saw the beginning of the long feud between France and England. It also saw the beginning of construction on Notre-Dame de Paris and the disastrous Second Crusade. He unexpectedly became the heir to the throne of France after the accidental death of his older brother, Philip, in 1131. A well-learned and exceptionally devout man, Louis VII was better suited for life as a priest than as a monarch. In the same year he was crowned King of France, Louis VII was married on 22 July 1137 to Eleanor of Aquitaine, heiress of William X of Aquitaine. In the first part of Louis VII's reign he was vigorous and jealous of his prerogatives, but after his Crusade, his piety limited his ability to become an effective statesman. In June 1147, Louis VII and his queen, Eleanor, set out from Metz, Lorraine, on the overland route to Syria. Just beyond Laodicea the French army was ambushed by Turks. The French were bombarded by arrows and heavy stones, the Turks swarmed down from the mountains and the massacre began. Louis VII and his army finally reached the Holy Land in 1148. His queen Eleanor supported her uncle, Raymond of Antioch, and prevailed upon Louis to help Antioch against Aleppo. But Louis VII's interest lay in Jerusalem, and so he slipped out of Antioch in secret. He united with Conrad III of Germany and King Baldwin III of Jerusalem to lay siege to Damascus; this ended in disaster and the project was abandoned. Louis VII decided to leave the Holy Land, despite the protests of Eleanor, who still wanted to help her doomed uncle Raymond of Antioch. Louis VII and the French army returned home in 1149. The expedition came to a great cost to the royal treasury and military. It also precipitated a conflict with Eleanor, leading to the annulment of their marriage at the council of Beaugency (March 1152). In 1154 Louis VII married Constance of Castile, daughter of Alfonso VII of Castile. She, too, failed to give him a son and heir, bearing only two daughters, Margaret and Alys. Constance died in childbirth on 4 October 1160, and five weeks later Louis VII married Adela of Champagne. Finally, nearing the end of his life, Louis' third wife bore him a son and heir, Philip II Augustus. Louis had him crowned at Reims in 1179, in the Capetian tradition (Philip would in fact be the last King so crowned). Already stricken with paralysis, King Louis VII himself was not able to be present at the ceremony. He died on September 18, 1180 at the Abbey at Saint-Pont, Allier and is interred in Saint Denis Basilica.
|Malcolm III, King of Scotland>|
Malcolm III (abt.1031 - 13 November 1093), was King of Scots. He was the eldest son of King Duncan I. Malcolm's long reign, lasting 35 years, preceded the beginning of the Scoto-Norman age. Malcolm's Kingdom did not extend over the full territory of modern Scotland: the north and west of Scotland remained in Scandinavian, Norse-Gael and Gaelic control, and the areas under the control of the Kings of Scots would not advance much beyond the limits set by Malcolm II, until the 12th century. Malcolm's main achievement is to have continued a line which would rule Scotland for many years. Malcolm's second wife, Saint Margaret of Scotland, was later beatified and is Scotland's only royal saint. Malcolm's family did attempt to overthrow Macbeth in 1045, but Malcolm's grandfather Crinan of Dunkeld was killed in the attempt. Soon after the death of Duncan his two young sons were sent away for greater safety - exactly where is the subject of debate. It was assumed that Malcolm passed most of Macbeth's seventeen year reign in the Kingdom of England at the court of Edward the Confessor. According to an alternative version, Malcolm's mother took both sons into exile at the court of Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney, an enemy of Macbeth's family, and perhaps Duncan's kinsman by marriage. In 1057 various chroniclers report the death of Macbeth at Malcolm's hand, on 15 August 1057 at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth was succeeded by his stepson Lulach, who was crowned at Scone, probably on 8 September 1057. Lulach was killed by Malcolm, "by treachery", near Huntly on 23 April 1058. After this, Malcolm became king. On 19 June 1250, following the canonization of Malcolm's wife Margaret by Pope Innocent IV, Margaret's remains were disinterred and placed in a reliquary. Tradition has it that as the reliquary was carried to the high altar of Dunfermline Abbey, past Malcolm's grave, it became too heavy to move. As a result, Malcolm's remains were also disinterred, and buried next to Margaret beside the altar.
|Philippe I, King of France>|
Rollo (c. 860 - c. 932), baptized Robert, was the founder and first ruler of the Viking principality in what soon became known as Normandy. Rollo was a Viking leader of contested origin. The question of whether Rollo's origins were Danish or Norwegian was a matter of heated dispute between Norwegian and Danish historians of the 19th and early 20th century, particularly in the run-up to Normandy's 1000-year-anniversary in 1911. Today, historians still disagree on this question, but most would now agree that a certain conclusion can never be reached. In 885, Rollo was one of the lesser leaders of the Viking fleet which besieged Paris under Sigfred. Legend has it that an emissary was sent by the king to find the chieftain and negotiate terms. When he asked for this information, the Vikings replied that they were all chieftains in their own right. In 886, when Sigfred retreated in return for tribute, Rollo stayed behind and was eventually bought off and sent to harry Burgundy. Later, he returned to the Seine with his followers. He invaded the area of northern France now known as Normandy. In 911 Rollo's forces were defeated at the Battle of Chartres by the troops of King Charles the Simple. In the aftermath of the battle, rather than pay Rollo to leave, as was customary, Charles the Simple understood that he could no longer hold back their onslaught, and decided to give Rollo the coastal lands they occupied under the condition that he defend against other raiding Vikings. In the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte (911) with King Charles, Rollo pledged feudal allegiance to the king, changed his name to the Frankish version, and converted to Christianity, probably with the baptismal name Robert. In return, King Charles granted Rollo the lower Seine area (today's upper Normandy) and the titular rulership of Normandy, centered around the city of Rouen. Initially, Rollo stayed true to his word of defending the shores of the Seine river in accordance to the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, but in time he and his followers had very different ideas. Rollo began to divide the land between the Epte and Risle rivers among his chieftains and settled there with a de facto capital in Rouen. With these settlements, Rollo began to further raid other Frankish lands, now from the security of a settled homeland, rather than a mobile fleet. Eventually, however, Rollo's men intermarried with the local women, and became more settled as Frenchmen. At the time of his death, Rollo's expansion of his territory had extended as far west as the Vire River. Sometime around 927, Rollo passed the fief in Normandy to his son, William Longsword. Rollo may have lived for a few years after that, but certainly died before 933. According to the historian Adhemar, 'As Rollo's death drew near, he went mad and had a hundred Christian prisoners beheaded in front of him in honor of the gods whom he had worshipped, and in the end distributed a hundred pounds of gold around the churches in honor of the true God in whose name he had accepted baptism.
Saint Vladimir Svyatoslavich the Great (about 958 - 15 July 1015) was the grand prince of Kiev who converted to Christianity in 988, and proceeded to baptise the whole Kievan Rus. Vladimir was the youngest son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev by his housekeeper Malusha, described in the Norse sagas as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future. Transferring his capital to Preslavets in 969, Sviatoslav designated Vladimir ruler of Novgorod the Great but gave Kiev to his legitimate son Yaropolk. After Sviatoslav's death (972), a fratricidal war erupted (976) between Yaropolk and his younger brother Oleg, ruler of the Drevlians. In 977 Vladimir fled to his kinsmen Haakon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway in Scandinavia, collecting as many of the Viking warriors as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod, and on his return the next year marched against Yaropolk. The capture of Polotsk and Smolensk facilitated the taking of Kiev (980), where he slew Yaropolk by treachery, and was proclaimed konung, or khagan, of all Kievan Rus. In addition to his father's extensive domain, Vladimir continued to expand his territories. In 981 he conquered the Cherven cities, the modern Galicia; in 983 he subdued the Yatvingians, whose territories lay between Lithuania and Poland; in 985 he led a fleet along the central rivers of Russia to conquer the Bulgars of the Kama, planting numerous fortresses and colonies on his way. In 988, having taken the town of Chersonesos in Crimea, he boldly negotiated for the hand of the emperor Basil II's sister, Anna. Never had a Greek imperial princess, and one "born-in-the-purple" at that, married a barbarian before, as matrimonial offers of French kings and German emperors had been peremptorily rejected. In short, to marry the 27-year-old princess off to a pagan Slav seemed impossible. Vladimir, however, was baptized at Cherson, taking the Christian name of Basil out of compliment to his imperial brother-in-law; the sacrament was followed by his wedding with Anna. Returning to Kiev in triumph, he destroyed pagan monuments and established many churches, starting with the splendid Church of the Tithes (989) and monasteries on Mt. Athos. In his later years he lived in a relative peace with his other neighbors: Boleslav I of Poland, Stephen I of Hungary, and Andrikh the Czech (questionable character mentioned in A Tale of the Bygone Years). After Anna's death, he married again, most likely to a granddaughter of Otto the Great. In 1014 his son Yaroslav the Wise stopped paying tribute. Vladimir decided to chastise the insolence of his son, and began gathering troops against Yaroslav. However, Vladimir fell ill, most likely of old age and died at Berestovo, near Kiev. The various parts of his dismembered body were distributed among his numerous sacred foundations and were venerated as relics. One of the largest Kievan cathedrals is dedicated to him. The University of Kiev was named after the man who both civilized and Christianized Kievan Rus. There is the Russian Order of St. Vladimir and Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the feast day of St. Vladimir on 15 July. With him the Varangian period of Eastern Slavic history ceased and the Christian period began.
William I (1027 - 9 September 1087) was Duke of Normandy from 1035 and King of England from 1066 to his death. William is also referred to as "William II" in relation to his position as Duke of Normandy. In particular, before his conquest of England, he was known as "William the Bastard" because of the illegitimacy of his birth. To claim the English crown, William invaded England in 1066, leading an army of Normans to victory over the Anglo-Saxon forces of Harold Godwinson (who died in the conflict) at the Battle of Hastings, and suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest. His reign, which brought Norman culture to England, had an enormous impact on the subsequent course of England in the Middle Ages. In addition to political changes, his reign also saw changes to English law, a program of building and fortification, changes to the vocabulary of the English language, and the introduction of continental European feudalism into England. Upon the death of the childless Edward the Confessor, the English throne was fiercely disputed by three claimants -- William, Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex, and the Viking King Harald III of Norway. In January 1066, however, in accordance with Edward's last will and by vote of the Witenagemot, Harold Godwinson was crowned King by Archbishop Aldred. William took England by force, starting with the Battle of Hastings, Harold Godwinson and two of his brothers were killed in the battle. For two weeks, William waited for a formal surrender of the English throne, but the Witenagemot proclaimed the quite young Edgar AEtheling instead, though without coronation. Thus, William's next target was London, approaching through the important territories of Kent, via Dover and Canterbury, inspiring fear in the English. At London, William's advance was beaten back at London Bridge, and he decided to march westward and to storm London from the northwest. After receiving continental reinforcements, William crossed the Thames at Wallingford, and there he forced the surrender of Archbishop Stigand. William reached Berkhamsted a few days later where AEtheling relinquished the English crown personally and the exhausted Saxon noblemen of England surrendered definitively. Although William was acclaimed then as English King, he requested a coronation in London. As William I, he was formally crowned on Christmas day 1066, in Westminster Abbey, by Archbishop Aldred. Although the south of England submitted quickly to Norman rule, resistance in the north continued for six more years until 1072. In 1085, in order to ascertain the extent of his new dominions and to improve taxation, William commissioned all his counselors for the compilation of the Domesday Book, which was published in 1086. The book was a survey of England's productive capacity similar to a modern census. William also ordered many castles, keeps, and moats, among them the Tower of London's foundation (the White Tower), to be built throughout England. His conquest also led to French (especially, but not only, the Norman French) replacing English as the language of the ruling classes for nearly 300 years. Furthermore, the original Anglo-Saxon culture of England became mingled with the Norman one; thus the Anglo-Norman culture came into being. William is said to have eliminated the native aristocracy in as little as four years. To the new Norman noblemen, William handed the English parcels of land piecemeal, dispersing these wide. Thus nobody would try conspiring against him without jeopardizing their own estates within the so unstable England. Effectively, this strengthened William's political stand as a monarch. In 1087 in France, William burned Mantes (50 km west of Paris), besieging the town. However, he fell off his horse, suffering fatal abdominal injuries by the saddle pommel. William died at age 59 at the Convent of St Gervais in Rouen, capital city of Normandy, France, on 9 September 1087. William was buried in the Abbaye-aux-Hommes, which he had erected, in Caen, Normandy.
Magna Carta Signers:
Hugh Bigod (c. 1182 - 1225) was the eldest son of Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk, and for a short time the 3rd earl of Norfolk. In 1215 he was one of the twenty-five sureties of Magna Carta of King John. He succeeded to his father's estates (including Framlingham Castle) in 1221 but died in his early forties in 1225
Henry de Bohun, 1st Earl of Hereford (1176 - 1220) was an English Norman nobleman. He was Earl of Hereford and Hereditary Constable of England from 1199 to 1220. He was the son of Humphrey de Bohun and Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry of Scotland, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, a son of David I of Scotland. His paternal grandmother was Margaret, daughter of Miles de Gloucester, 1st Earl of Hereford and Constable of England. Bohun's half-sister was Constance, Duchess of Brittany. The male line of Miles of Gloucester having failed, on the accession of King John of England, Bohun was created Earl of Hereford and Constable of England (1199). Henry de Bohun was one of the 25 sureties of the Magna Carta in 1215, and was subsequently excommunicated by the Pope.
|John, King of England>|
John (24 December 1166 - 19 October 1216) reigned as King of England from 6 April 1199, until his death. John acquired the nicknames of "Lackland" (French: Sans Terre) for his lack of an inheritance as the youngest son and for his loss of territory to France, and of "Soft-sword" for his alleged military ineptitude. Apart from entering popular legend as the enemy of Robin Hood, he is also known for when he acquiesced to the nobility and signed Magna Carta, a document limiting his power which is popularly thought as an early first step in the evolution of modern democracy. Before his accession, John had already acquired a reputation for treachery, having conspired sometimes with and sometimes against his elder brothers, Henry, Richard and Geoffrey. In 1185, John became the ruler of Ireland, whose people grew to despise him, causing John to leave after only eight months. During Richard's absence on the Third Crusade from 1190 to 1194, John attempted to overthrow William Longchamp, the Bishop of Ely and Richard's designated justiciar. This was one of the events that inspired later writers to cast John as the villain in their reworking of the legend of Robin Hood. John was more popular than Longchamp in London, and in October 1191 the leading citizens of the city opened the gates to him while Longchamp was confined in the tower. John promised the city the right to govern itself as a commune in return for recognition as Richard's heir presumptive. In 1202, John was summoned to the French court to answer charges, one of which was his marriage to Isobel of Angouleme who was already engaged to Guy de Lusignan. John was called to Phillip's court after the Lusignans pleaded for his help. John refused, and, under feudal law, because of his failure of service to his lord, the French King claimed the lands and territories ruled by King John as Count of Poitou, declaring all John's French territories except Gascony in the southwest forfeit. Needing to supply a war across the English Channel, in 1203 John ordered all shipyards (including inland places such as Gloucester) in England to provide at least one ship, with places such as the newly-built Portsmouth being responsible for several. He made Portsmouth the new home of the navy. By the end of 1204, he had 45 large galleys available to him, and from then on an average of four new ones every year. He also created an Admiralty of four admirals, responsible for various parts of the new navy. During John's reign, major improvements were made in ship design, including the addition of sails and removable forecastles. He also created the first big transport ships. John is sometimes credited with the founding of the modern Royal Navy. The European wars culminated in defeat at the Battle of Bouvines (1214), which forced the king to accept an unfavorable peace with France. This finally turned the barons against him, and he met their leaders at Runnymede, near London on 15 June 1215 to seal the Great Charter, called in Latin Magna Carta. Because he had signed under duress, however, John received approval from his overlord, the Pope, to break his word as soon as hostilities had ceased, provoking the First Barons' War and an invited French invasion by Prince Louis of France (whom the majority of the English barons had invited to replace John on the throne). John traveled around the country to oppose the rebel forces, including a personal two month siege of the rebel-held Rochester Castle. Retreating from the French invasion, John took a safe route around the marshy area of the Wash to avoid the rebel held area of East Anglia. His slow baggage train (including the Crown Jewels), however, took a direct route across it and was lost to the unexpected incoming tide. This dealt John a terrible blow, which affected his health and state of mind. Succumbing to dysentery and moving from place to place, he stayed one night at Sleaford Castle before dying on 18 October (or possibly 19 October) 1216, at Newark Castle (then in Lincolnshire, now on Nottinghamshire's border with that county). He was buried in Worcester Cathedral in the city of Worcester.
Mayflower Compact Signers:
George Soule (c. 1595 - 1679) was one of the original 102 Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Soule was born in England about 1595, and as a young man became a teacher to Edward Winslow's children. Soule came with Winslow to America on the Mayflower in 1620 as an indentured servant. He was one of forty-one signers of the Mayflower Compact in November 1620. Soule was among the one half of the population that survived the first winter in Plymouth and was present at the time of the "First Thanksgiving" in 1621. In the 1623 Plymouth division of lands, Soule received one acre as a passenger on the Mayflower. Soule eventually became a prominent landowner in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 1637, Soule volunteered to serve during the Pequot War. He also served as a deputy (representative) for Duxbury and on many committees in Plymouth Colony. Soule died in 1680, leaving a sizable estate.
William Bradford (March 19, 1590 - May 9, 1657) was a leader of the Separatist settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and was elected thirty times to be the Governor after John Carver died. He was the second signer and primary architect of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor. His journal (1620-47), was published as Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford is credited as the first to proclaim what popular American culture now views as the first Thanksgiving. William Bradford was born on March 19, 1590 near Doncaster, in Austerfield, Yorkshire. At an early age, he was attracted to the "primitive" congregational church, in nearby Scrooby, and became a committed member of what was termed a "Separatist" church, since the church-members had wanted to separate from the Church of England. By contrast, the Puritans wanted to purify the Church of England. The Separatists instead felt the Church was beyond redemption due to unbiblical doctrines and teachings. When James I began to persecute Separatists in 1609, Bradford fled to the Netherlands, along with many members of the congregation. These Separatists went first to Amsterdam before settling at Leiden. Bradford married his first wife, Dorothy May (d. December 7, 1620), on December 10, 1613 in Amsterdam. While at Leiden, he supported himself as a fustian weaver. Social pressure (and even attacks) on the separatists increased in the Netherlands. Their congregation's leader, John Robinson, supported the emerging idea of starting a colony. Bradford was in the midst of this venture from the beginning. The separatists wanted to remain Englishmen (although living in the Netherlands), yet wanted to get far enough away from the Church of England and the government to have some chance of living in peace. Arrangements were made, and William with his wife sailed for America in 1620 from Leiden aboard the Mayflower. On December 7, 1620, before the colony was established, Bradford's wife, Dorothy, died while the Mayflower was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor. Bradford included only brief mention of her passing in his own writing. The first winter in the new colony was a terrible experience. Half the colonists perished, including the colony's leader, John Carver. Bradford was selected as his replacement on the spring of 1621. From this point, his story is inextricably linked with the history of the Plymouth Colony. William Bradford died at Plymouth, and was interred at Plymouth Burial Hill.
Edward Doty (died August 23, 1655) was a Mayflower passenger, a signer of the Mayflower Compact, and a permanent settler at the Plymouth colony. His surname sometimes appears as Doten, Dotey, or Day. Doty's ancestry is unknown. Doty was one of two indentured servants under Stephen Hopkins, the other one being Edward Leister, and as such accompanied Hopkins and his family aboard the Mayflower. November 11, 1620, while the Mayflower was anchored off Cape Cod, forty-one of the adult males, including servants, signed the Mayflower Compact; Doty and Leister were among the signers. Doty was a member of the exploratory party, led by Myles Standish and including John Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, John Tilley and his brother Edward, John Howland, Richard Warren, Stephen Hopkins, and several crewmen from the Mayflower, that departed on December 6, 1620, in a shallop to search for a suitable site for settlement. The first duel in Plymouth Colony occurred June 18, 1621, when Doty and Edward Leister fought with swords and daggers until one was wounded in the hand and the other in the thigh. They were to be punished by having their ankles tied to their necks for twenty-four hours without food or drink. Within an hour they were begging to be released, which the Governor allowed upon their promise to behave. Doty's name appears in the lists of freemen for 1633 and 1636 and in the 1643 list of males that were able to bear arms. His name also appears many times in the records of the Plymouth colony as either plaintiff or defendant in various lawsuits. Doty was on the losing side in the majority of these cases. Doty was married twice, but the name of his first wife is unknown. His second wife was Faith Clarke, daughter of Thurston Clarke, both of whom arrived at Plymouth on the Francis in April 1634. Doty and Faith Clarke were married on January 6, 1635. They are the progenitors of a large American family. They had nine children, 76 grandchildren, and at least 358 great-grandchildren.
Richard Warren (c. 1580 - 1628) a passenger on the Mayflower (old "May Floure") in 1620, settled in Plymouth Colony and was among ten passengers of the Mayflower landing party with Myles Standish at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. Warren co-signed the Mayflower Compact and was one of nineteen (among forty-one) signers who survived the first winter. Most sources agree that his wife's name was Elizabeth, however there is some dispute as to what Elizabeth's maiden surname was. One reference indicates her maiden name was Elizabeth Walker, and that she was baptized 1583 in Baldock, Hertfordshire, England, died October 2, 1673. She and his first five children, all daughters, came to America in the ship Anne in 1623. Once in America, they then had two sons before Richard's untimely death in 1628. Although the details are limited, Richard Warren and wife, Elizabeth, and children were mentioned in official records or books of the time period. All seven of their children survived and had families, with thousands of descendants.
17th Century Immigrants:
The Mayflower on her arrival in Plymouth Harbor|
By William Formsby Halsall>
|Wampanoag Country in the 1600s>|
Based on William Bradford's Notes>
|Plimoth Colony Dwellings>|
Early Governors in the Colonies:
|Massachusetts Currency 1737>|
Thomas Mayhew, Sr. (March 31, 1593 - March 25, 1682) established the first settlement of Martha's Vineyard in 1642. He was born in Tisbury, County Wiltshire, in England. Mayhew, his wife, and children left England in 1631 during the Great Migration that brought 20,000 persons to Massachusetts in thirteen years. Thomas had been accepted with the agency of Matthew Cradock of London to manage properties in Medford, Massachusetts, and to engage in trade and shipbuilding. In 1641, Thomas secured Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, the Elizabeth Islands, and other islands as a proprietorship from Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Lord Sterling. This enabled him to transfer his business operations there. With the help of son Thomas, a settlement was established. Farming and whaling enterprises began. In 1641, while engaged in business ventures in the vicinity of Boston, Thomas, Sr. happened to acquire the rights to the islands that now constitute Dukes County: (Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands). He bought the County for 40 pounds and two beaver-skin hats from William Alexander, the 2nd Earl of Sterling. To resolve a conflicting ownership claim, he also paid off Sir Ferdinando Gorges, thereby acquiring a clear title. Thomas established himself as governor of Martha's Vineyard in 1642 and sent his son, Thomas Jr., with about 40 English families to settle there. He followed four years later. Together he and Thomas Jr. established Martha's Vineyard's first settlement and called it Great Harbor, now Edgartown. Mayhew and his fellow settlers found a large and economically stable native population of about 3,000 living in permanent villages, led by four sachems (chiefs). Relations between the first settlers and their Wampanoag neighbors were peaceful and courteous. Under the leadership of his son, a minister, they instituted a policy of respect and fair dealing with the Wampanoag natives that was unequaled anywhere. One of the first Mayhew rulings was that no land be taken from the native island people, the Wampanoags, without consent and fair payment. From this time forward, the colonial settlers and Indians lived without the bloodshed that marked American history elsewhere. In 1657, Thomas Jr. was drowned when a ship he was riding was lost at sea on a voyage to England. Thomas Sr.'s grandson Matthew and other relatives assisted him in running his business and government. The Mayhews had great success in regard to Indian policy. Because of the fair treatment of the Indians there, the colony was protected from the bloodshed that occurred elsewhere, in King Phillip's War. Change was in the air though, for the world outside this small island was unsettled. There were more visitors from off island and some stayed, challenging the Mayhew government, while Baptists and Methodists arrived to make converts from the established Congregational Church. Through a maze of conflicting land grants, changing political allegiances, and settler unrest, Thomas Mayhew, self-styled--"Governor Mayhew"-- began to rule his island with an iron hand. The most serious threat to his control came in 1665 when Martha's Vineyard was included in the lands placed under the Duke of York. After much delay a settlement, worked out in 1671, confirmed the Mayhew patent and named Thomas Mayhew "Governour and Chiefe Magistrate" for life. At the same time a patent was issued erecting the Manor of Tisbury in the southwestern part of the island. The Governor and his grandson were made "joint Lords of the Manor of Tisbury," and the inhabitants became manorial tenants subject to the feudal political jurisdiction of the Mayhews. This full-fledged feudal manor appears to have been the only such institution actually established in New England. The attempt of the Mayhews to create a hereditary aristocracy on the Vineyard met with increasing opposition as more and more colonists arrived. When the Dutch temporarily recaptured New York in 1673, open rebellion broke out and lasted until the English re-won New York and restored the authority of the Mayhews on the island. When the venerable Governor Mayhew became ill one Sunday evening in 1682, he calmly informed his friends and relatives that "his Sickness would now be to Death, and he was well contented therewith, being full of Days, and satisfied with Life". His great-grandson, Experience Mayhew, Jonathan's father, was only eight at the time, but he clearly remembered being led to the bedside to receive from the dying man a blessing "in the Name of the Lord." Family leadership then passed to the three grandsons, two of whom deserted the mission, leaving John, the youngest grandson and grandfather of Jonathan, to care for Indian souls. Nine years later the political rule of the family ended when Martha's Vineyard was annexed by Massachusetts after the Glorious Revolution in England, but the problem of manorial tenancy remained. Although some of the Mayhews clung to the "pleasant fiction" of their manorial rights almost until the American Revolution and received token quit rents as late as 1732, feudalism on Martha's Vineyard died the same slow, lingering but certain death it did elsewhere in the colonies.
A Salem "Witch":
George Jacobs, Sr. (c.1620-1692) was accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in Salem Village, Massachusetts, in 1692, and was found guilty on August 2, 1692, and hanged on August 19, 1692. He was in his seventies at the time of his death. His son, George Jacobs, Jr. was also accused but evaded arrest. His accusers included his daughter-in-law and granddaughter. At first he treated his arrest lightly and laughed out loud at the absurdity of the questions. His granddaughter was convinced to confess that she was a witch and George a wizard. She later retracted her testimony and confession, but it was too late.
|Trial of George Jacobs>|
A Polar Explorer:
|Hilmer (Helmer) Hanssen>|
Helmer Julius Hanssen (1870-1956) was a Norwegian polar explorer, and one of the first five to reach the South Pole on the expedition of Roald Amundsen. Hanssen was born in Risoeyhavn, a small village in the northern part of Norway. He was an experienced ice pilot, a skill he had learned while hunting seals around Spitsbergen. From 1903 to 1905 Helmer Hanssen participated in Roald Amundsen's successful search for the Northwest Passage, as second mate on board the ship Gjoea. On the expedition he learned from the Inuit how to drive sled dogs. In 1910 he headed south with Amundsen to conquer the South Pole, this time serving as an expert dog driver. He was also in charge of navigation, carrying the master compass on his sledge. He was one of the first five people to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911, along with Roald Amundsen, Olav Bjaaland, Oscar Wisting, and Sverre Hassel. During their stay at the South Pole, it is believed that Hanssen passed within 200 yards of the mathematical South Pole point. This was during one of his ski runs which Amundsen had ordered be performed to completely encircle or "box" the pole to ensure that there was no doubt that the expedition had attained the pole. In 1919 he once again went north, this time as captain on the Maud in Roald Amundsen's Northeast Passage expedition. In 1936 Hanssen published his autobiography, The Voyages of a Modern Viking. Helmer Julius Hanssen was awarded Norway's Knight 2nd Class of St. Olav for exceptional seamanship on Roald Amundsen's expeditions in the northern and southern parts of the world.