Siege of Acre (1189–1191)
The Siege of Acre was the first significant counterattack by King Guy of Jerusalem to the losses the kingdom experienced to Saladin, leader of the Muslims in Syria and Egypt and formed part of what became known as the Third Crusade. The siege lasted from August 1189 until July 1191, in which time the city's coastal position meant the attacking Latin force were unable to invest the city and Saladin was unable to relieve it with both sides receiving supplies and resources by sea, it was a key victory for the Crusaders and a serious setback for Saladin's ambition to destroy the Crusader States. Egypt was ruled by the Shi'ite Fatimid dynasty from 969, independent from the Sunni Abbasid rulers in Baghdad and with a rival Shi'ite caliph—that is successor to the Muslim prophet Mohammad. Governance fell to the caliph's chief administrator called the vizier. From 1121 the system fell into murderous political intrigue and Egypt declined from its previous affluent state; this encouraged Baldwin III of Jerusalem to plan an invasion, only halted by the payment by Egypt of a tribute of 160,000 gold dinars.
In 1163 the deposed vizier, visited Zengi's son and successor, Nur ad-Din, atabeg of Aleppo in Damascus seeking political and military support. Some historians have considered Nur ad-Din's support as a visionary attempt to surround the Crusaders, but in practice he prevaricated before only responding when it became clear that the Crusaders might gain an unassailable foothold on the Nile. Nur al-Din sent his Kurdish general, who stormed Egypt and restored Shawar. However, Shawar asserted his independence and allied with Baldwin's brother and successor Amalric of Jerusalem; when Amalric broke the alliance in a ferocious attack, Shawar again requested military support from Syria and Shirkuh was sent by Nur ad-Din for a second time. Amalric retreated. Two months he died to be succeeded by his nephew, Yusuf ibn Ayyub, who has become known by his honorific'Salah al-Din','the goodness of faith' which in turn has become westernised as Saladin. Nur al-Din died in 1174, he was the first Muslim to unite Damascus in the Crusade era.
Some Islamic contemporaries promoted the idea that there was a natural Islamic resurgence under Zengi, through Nur al-Din to Saladin. Although, this wasn't as straight forward and simple as it appears. Saladin imprisoned all the Caliph's heirs preventing them from having children, as opposed to having them all killed which would have been normal practice, to extinguish the bloodline. Assuming control after the death of his overlord, Nur al-Din, Saladin had the strategic choice of establishing Egypt as an autonomous power or attempting to become the preeminent Muslim in the Eastern Mediterranean—he chose the latter As Nur al-Din's territories fragmented after his death, Saladin legitimised his ascent through positioning himself as a defender of Sunni Islam subservient to both the Caliph of Baghdad and Nur al-Din's son and successor, As-Salih Ismail al-Malik. In his early ascendency he seized much of Syria, but not Aleppo. After the building a defensive force to resist a planned attack by the Kingdom of Jerusalem that never materialised his first contest with the Latin Christians was not a success.
His overconfidence and tactical errors led to defeat at the Battle of Montgisard. Despite this setback, Saladin established a domain stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates through a decade of politics and low level military action. After a life-threatening illness, he determined to make good on his propaganda as the champion of Islam, embarking on heightened campaigning against the Latin Christians. King Guy responded by raising the largest army that Jerusalem had put in the field. However, Saladin lured the force into inhospitable terrain with water, surrounded the Latins with a superior force and routed them at the Battle of Hattin. Saladin offered the Christians the options of remaining in peace under Islamic rule or taking advantage of 40 days' grace to leave; as a result, much of Palestine fell to Saladin including, after a short 5 day siege, Jerusalem. According to Benedict of Peterborough, Pope Urban III died of deep sadness on 19 October 1187 on hearing of the defeat. Pope Gregory VIII issued a papal bull named Audita tremendi that proposed a further Crusade numbered the third to recapture Jerusalem.
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor died en route to Jerusalem, drowning in the Saleph River, few of his men reached the Eastern Mediterranean. In Tyre, Conrad of Montferrat had entrenched himself and had resisted Saladin's assault at the end of 1187; the sultan turned his attention to other tasks, but tried to negotiate the surrender of the city by treaty, as in mid-1188 the first reinforcements from Europe arrived at Tyre by sea. Under the terms of the treaty, Saladin would, among other things, release King Guy, whom he had captured at Hattin; this would have escalated the conflict between Guy, blamed for the catastrophe of Hattin, Conrad, who had defended Tyre from the subsequent invasion. Guy was released and appeared before Tyre, but Conrad would not let him in, claiming that he was administering it until the kings should arrive from across the sea to settle the succession; this was in accordance with Baldwin IV's will: he was the nearest paternal kinsman of Baldwin V. Guy left before appearing once again outside Tyre with his wife Queen Sibylla, who held the legal title to the kingdom, but he was again rejected by Conrad, he set up his camp outside the gates of the city.
In late spring 1188, William II of Sicily sent a fleet with 200 knights. Guy succeede
Battle of Neville's Cross
The Battle of Neville's Cross took place during the Second War of Scottish Independence on 17 October 1346, half a mile to the west of Durham, within sight of Durham Cathedral. An invading Scottish army of 12,000 led by King David II was defeated with heavy loss by an English army of 6,000–7,000 men led by Lord Ralph Neville; the battle was named after an Anglo-Saxon stone cross on the hill. The battle was the result of the invasion of France by England during the Hundred Years' War. King Philip VI of France called on the Scots to fulfil their obligation under the terms of the Auld Alliance and invade England. David II obliged and after ravaging much of northern England was taken by surprise by the English defenders; the ensuing battle ended with the rout of the Scots, the capture of their king and the death or capture of most of their leadership. Strategically this freed significant English resources for the war against France, the English border counties were able to guard against the remaining Scottish threat from their own resources.
The eventual ransoming of the Scottish king resulted in a truce which brought peace to the border for forty years. By 1346 England had been embroiled in the Second War of Scottish Independence since 1332 and the Hundred Years' War with France since 1337. In January 1343 the French and English had entered into the Truce of Malestroit, which included Scotland and was intended to last until 29 September 1346. In defiance of the truce, hostilities continued on all fronts, although at a lower level. Edward III of England planned an invasion of northern France in 1346 and King Philip VI of France sent an appeal to David II to open a northern front. Philip VI wanted the Scots to divert English troops and attention away from the army under Edward III, gathering in southern England; the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland had been renewed in 1326 and was intended to deter England from attacking either country by the threat that the other would invade English territory. In June Philip VI asked David II to attack pre-emptively: "I beg you, I implore you...
Do for me what I would willingly do for you in such a crisis and do it as quickly... as you are able." Edward III landed in Normandy with an army of 15,000 in July. Philip VI renewed his pleas to David II; as the English had committed troops to Gascony and Flanders, Philip VI described northern England to David II as "a defenceless void". David II felt certain that few English troops would be left to defend the rich northern English cities, but when the Scots probed into northern England they were rebuffed by the local defenders. David II agreed a truce, to last until 29 September, in order to mobilise the Scottish army, assembling at Perth. By the time the truce expired, the French had been decisively beaten at Crécy and the English were besieging Calais; the French were in difficulty in south-west France, where their front had collapsed, with the major city and provincial capital of Poitiers, 125 miles from the border of English Gascony, falling on 4 October. On 7 October the Scots invaded England with 12,000 men.
Many had armour supplied by France. A small number of French knights marched alongside the Scots, it was described by both Scottish and English chroniclers of the time, by modern historians, as the strongest and best equipped Scottish expedition for many years. The border fort of Liddell Peel was stormed and captured after a siege of three days and the garrison massacred. Carlisle was bypassed in exchange for a large indemnity and the Scottish army moved east, ravaging the countryside as they went, they sacked Hexham Abbey, taking three days to do so advanced to Durham. They arrived outside Durham on 16 October and camped at Beaurepaire Priory, where the monks offered the Scots £1,000 in protection money to be paid on 18 October; the invasion had been expected by the English for some time. Once the Scots invaded, an army was mobilised at Richmond in north Yorkshire under the supervision of William de la Zouche, the Archbishop of York, Lord Warden of the Marches, it was not a large army: 3,000–4,000 men from the northern counties of Cumberland and Lancashire.
Another 3,000 Yorkshiremen were en route to reinforce their fellow northerners. This was possible because Edward III, when raising his army to invade France, had exempted the counties north of the River Humber. On 14 October, while the Scots were sacking Hexham Abbey, the Archbishop decided not to wait for the Yorkshire troops and marched north west towards Barnard Castle, rapidly north east to Durham, he was joined en route by the Yorkshire contingent and Lord Ralph Neville took command of the combined force of 6,000–7,000 men. The Scots at Beaurepaire only discovered the English army on the morning of 17 October, when they were some 6 miles away. Around 500 men under William Douglas stumbled upon them in the morning mist during a raid near Merrington, south of Durham; the two rear divisions of the English army drove them off with heavy Scottish casualties, around 300. Douglas raced back to David II's camp, alerting the rest of the army, which stoo
In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, its half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodist, the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked. Ideologically, the Victorian era witnessed resistance to the rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn towards romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, arts.
Domestically, the political agenda was liberal, with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform, industrial reform, the widening of the franchise. There were unprecedented demographic changes: the population of England and Wales doubled from 16.8 million in 1851 to 30.5 million in 1901, Scotland's population rose from 2.8 million in 1851 to 4.4 million in 1901. However, Ireland's population decreased from 8.2 million in 1841 to less than 4.5 million in 1901 due to emigration and the Great Famine. Between 1837 and 1901 about 15 million emigrated from Great Britain to the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia; the two main political parties during the era remained the Conservatives. These parties were led by such prominent statesmen as Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, Lord Salisbury; the unsolved problems relating to Irish Home Rule played a great part in politics in the Victorian era in view of Gladstone's determination to achieve a political settlement in Ireland.
In the strictest sense, the Victorian era covers the duration of Victoria's reign as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from her accession on 20 June 1837—after the death of her uncle, William IV—until her death on 22 January 1901, after which she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII. Her reign lasted for seven months, a longer period than any of her predecessors; the term'Victorian' was in contemporaneous usage to describe the era. The era has been understood in a more extensive sense as a period that possessed sensibilities and characteristics distinct from the periods adjacent to it, in which case it is sometimes dated to begin before Victoria's accession—typically from the passage of or agitation for the Reform Act 1832, which introduced a wide-ranging change to the electoral system of England and Wales. Definitions that purport a distinct sensibility or politics to the era have created scepticism about the worth of the label "Victorian", though there have been defences of it.
Michael Sadleir was insistent that "in truth the Victorian period is three periods, not one". He distinguished early Victorianism – the and politically unsettled period from 1837 to 1850 – and late Victorianism, with its new waves of aestheticism and imperialism, from the Victorian heyday: mid-Victorianism, 1851 to 1879, he saw the latter period as characterised by a distinctive mixture of prosperity, domestic prudery, complacency – what G. M. Trevelyan called the "mid-Victorian decades of quiet politics and roaring prosperity". In 1832, after much political agitation, the Reform Act was passed on the third attempt; the Act abolished many borough seats and created others in their place, as well as expanding the franchise in England and Wales. Minor reforms followed in 1835 and 1836. On 20 June 1837, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom on the death of her uncle, William IV, her government was led by the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne, but within two years he had resigned, the Tory politician Sir Robert Peel attempted to form a new ministry.
In the same year, a seizure of British opium exports to China prompted the First Opium War against the Qing dynasty, British imperial India initiated the First Anglo-Afghan War—one of the first major conflicts of the Great Game between Britain and Russia. In 1840, Queen Victoria married her German cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, it proved a happy marriage, whose children were much sought after by royal families across Europe. In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand; the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 ended the First Opium War and gave Britain control over Hong Kong Island. However, a disastrous retreat from Kabul in the same year led to the annihilation of a British army column in Afghanistan. In 1845, the Great Famine began to cause mass starvation and death in Ireland, sparking large-scale emigration. Peel was replaced by the Whig ministry of Lord John Russell. In 1853, Britain fought alongside France in the Crimean War against Russia.
The goal was to ensure that Russia could not benefit from the declining status
William II of England
William II, the third son of William the Conqueror, was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers over Normandy, influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is known as William Rufus because of his ruddy appearance or, more due to having red hair as a child that grew out in life. William was a figure of complex temperament, capable of both flamboyance, he did not marry, nor did he father any offspring, which has led to speculations of possible homosexuality by historians. He died under circumstances that remain unclear. Circumstantial evidence in the behaviour of those around him raise strong, but unproven, suspicions of murder, his younger brother Henry I hurriedly succeeded him as king. Barlow says he was "A rumbustious, devil-may-care soldier, without natural dignity or social graces, with no cultivated tastes and little show of conventional religious piety or morality—indeed, according to his critics, addicted to every kind of vice lust and sodomy."
On the other hand, he was a wise ruler and victorious general. Barlow finds that, "His chivalrous achievements were all too obvious, he had maintained good order and satisfactory justice in England and restored good peace to Normandy. He had extended Anglo-Norman rule in Wales, brought Scotland under his lordship, recovered Maine, kept up the pressure on the Vexin." William's exact date of birth is not known, but it was some time between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons born to William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders, the eldest being Robert Curthose, the second Richard, the youngest Henry. William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death in 1087, but Robert inherited Normandy. Richard had died around 1075 while hunting in the New Forest. William had six sisters; the existence of sisters Adeliza and Matilda is not certain, but four sisters are more securely attested: Adela, who married the Count of Blois Cecily, who became a nun Agatha, who died unmarried Constance, who married the Duke of Brittany.
Records indicate strained relations between the three surviving sons of William I. William's contemporary, chronicler Orderic Vitalis, wrote about an incident that took place at L'Aigle in Normandy in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by emptying a chamber pot onto their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, their father had to intercede to restore order. According to William of Malmesbury, writing in the 12th century, William Rufus was "well set; the division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the English Channel. Since the younger William and his brother Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other, or both; the only solution, as they saw it, was to unite Normandy once more under one ruler.
The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, a half-brother of William the Conqueror. As Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1091 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands; the two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine. This plan was abandoned, but William continued to pursue a ferociously warlike defence of his French possessions and interests to the end of his life, exemplified by his response to the attempt by Elias de la Flèche, Count of Maine, to take Le Mans in 1099. William Rufus was thus secure in what was the most powerful kingdom in Europe, given the contemporary eclipse of the Salian emperors.
As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations. The king's personal power, through an effective and loyal chancery, penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France; the king's administration and law unified the realm, rendering him impervious to papal condemnation. In 1097 he commenced the original Westminster Hall, which when completed in 1099 was the largest hall in Europe, built "to impress his subjects with the power and majesty of his authority". Less than two years after becoming king, William II lost his father William I's adviser and confidant, the Italian-Norman Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. After Lanfranc's death in 1089, the king delayed appointing a new archbishop for many years, appropriating ecclesiastical revenues in the interim. In panic, owing to serious illness in 1093, William nominated as archbishop another Norman-Italian, Anselm – considered the greatest theologian of his generation – but this led to a long period of animosity between Church and State, Anselm being a stronger supporter of the Gregorian reforms in the Church than Lanfranc.
William and Anselm disagreed on a range of ecclesiastica
A keep is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the castle fall to an adversary; the first keeps were made of timber and formed a key part of the Motte-and-Bailey castles that emerged in Normandy and Anjou during the 10th century. The Anglo-Normans and French rulers began to build stone keeps during the 11th centuries. Stone keeps carried considerable political as well as military importance and could take up to a decade or more to build. During the 12th century, new designs began to be introduced – in France, quatrefoil-shaped keeps were introduced, while in England polygonal towers were built. By the end of the century and English keep designs began to diverge: Philip II of France built a sequence of circular keeps as part of his bid to stamp his royal authority on his new territories, while in England castles were built without keeps.
In Spain, keeps were incorporated into both Christian and Islamic castles, although in Germany tall fighting towers called bergfriede were preferred to keeps in the western fashion. In the second half of the 14th century, there was a resurgence in the building of keeps. In France, the keep at Vincennes began a fashion for tall machicolated designs, a trend adopted in Spain most prominently through the Valladolid school of Spanish castle design. Meanwhile, tower keeps in England became popular amongst the most wealthy nobles: these large keeps, each uniquely designed, formed part of the grandest castles built during the period. In the 15th century, the protective function of keeps was compromised by improved artillery. For example, in 1464 during the Wars of the Roses, the keep in the Bamburgh Castle considered to be impregnable, was defeated with bombards. By the 16th century, keeps were falling out of fashion as fortifications and residences. Many were destroyed in civil wars between the 17th and 18th centuries, or incorporated into gardens as an alternative to follies.
During the 19th century, keeps became fashionable once again and in England and France a number were restored or redesigned by Gothic architects. Despite further damage to many French and Spanish keeps during the wars of the 20th century, keeps now form an important part of the tourist and heritage industry in Europe. Since the 16th century, the English word keep has referred to large towers in castles; the word originates from around 1375 to 1376, coming from the Middle English term kype, meaning basket or cask, was a term applied to the shell keep at Guînes, said to resemble a barrel. The term came to be used. By the 17th century, the word keep lost its original reference to baskets or casks, was popularly assumed to have come from the Middle English word keep, meaning to hold or to protect. Early on, the use of the word keep became associated with the idea of a tower in a castle that would serve both as a fortified, high-status private residence and a refuge of last resort; the issue was complicated by the building of fortified Renaissance towers in Italy called tenazza that were used as defences of last resort and were named after the Italian for to hold or to keep.
By the 19th century, Victorian historians incorrectly concluded that the etymology of the words "keep" and tenazza were linked, that all keeps had fulfilled this military function. As a result of this evolution in meaning, the use of the term keep in historical analysis today can be problematic. Contemporary medieval writers used. In Latin, they are variously described as turris, turris castri or magna turris – a tower, a castle tower, or a great tower; the 12th-century French came to term them a donjon, from the Latin dominarium "lordship", linking the keep and feudal authority. Medieval Spanish writers called the buildings torre del homenaje, or "tower of homage." In England, donjon turned into dungeon, which referred to a keep, rather than to a place of imprisonment. This ambiguity over terminology has made historical analysis of the use of "keeps" problematic. While the term remains in common academic use, some academics prefer to use the term donjon, most modern historians warn against using the term "keep" simplistically.
The fortifications that we would today call keeps did not form part of a unified medieval style, nor were they all used in a similar fashion during the period. The earliest keeps were built as part of motte-and-bailey castles from the 10th century onwards – a combination of documentary and archaeological evidence places the first such castle, built at Vincy, in 979; these castles were built by the more powerful lords of Anjou in the late 10th and 11th centuries, in particular Fulk III and his son, Geoffrey II, who built a great number of them between 987 and 1060. William the Conqueror introduced this form of castle into England when he invaded in 1066, the design spread through south Wales as the Normans expanded up the valleys during the subsequent decades. In a motte-and-bailey design, a castle would include a mound called a motte artificially constructed by piling up turf and soil, a bailey, a lower walled enclosure. A keep and a protective wall would be built on top of the motte; some protectiv
Bamburgh is a village and civil parish on the coast of Northumberland, England. It had a population of 454 in 2001; the village is notable for the nearby Bamburgh Castle, a castle, the seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, for its association with the Victorian era heroine Grace Darling, buried there. The extensive beach by the village was awarded the Blue Flag rural beach award in 2005; the Bamburgh Dunes, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, stand behind the beach. Bamburgh is popular with holidaymakers and is within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the site now occupied by Bamburgh Castle was home to a fort of the indigenous Celtic Britons known as Din Guarie and may have been the capital of the kingdom of Bernicia, the realm of the Gododdin people, from the realm's foundation in c. 420 until 547, the year of the first written reference to the castle. In that year the citadel was captured by the Anglo-Saxon ruler Ida of Bernicia and became Ida's seat. Late medieval British author Thomas Malory identified Bamburgh Castle with Joyous Gard, the mythical castle home of Sir Lancelot in Arthurian legend.
According to Bede, St Aidan built a wooden church outside the castle wall in AD 635, he died here in AD 652. A wooden beam preserved inside the church is traditionally said to be the one on which he rested as he died; the present church dates from the late 12th century, though some pre-conquest stonework survives in the north aisle. The chancel, said to be the second longest in the country, was added in 1230. S. Hicks, depicting northern saints of the 7th and 8th centuries. There is an effigy of local heroine Grace Darling in the North Aisle; this formed part of the original Monument to Grace Darling but was removed due to weathering of the stonework. Her memorial is sited in the churchyard in such a position. An electoral ward of the same name exists; this ward includes Belford and stretches south to Ellingham with a total population taken at the 2011 census of 4,846. Æthelfrith of Northumbria William George Armstrong Joe Baker-Cresswell Ida of Bernicia Prideaux John Selby Grace Darling Bamburgh Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1910 to guide shipping both passing along the Northumberland coast and in the waters around the Farne Islands.
It was extensively modernised in 1975 and is now monitored from the Trinity House Operations and Planning Centre in Harwich. Routine maintenance is carried out by a local attendant, it is the most northerly land-based lighthouse in England. When built, the lamp was mounted on a skeletal steel tower which stood alongside the white building which housed an acetylene plant to power the lamp. During electrification in 1975 the tower was removed, the lantern was placed instead on top of the acetylene building. Bamburgh Coast and Hills, a Site of Special Scientific Interest along the coast north-east of Bamburgh List of lighthouses in England Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Bamburgh". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Bamburgh Photos Local Information on Bamburgh, The Farne Islands and surrounding areas. Stained glass windows at St. Aidan's Church, Photos by Peter Loud Bamburgh Tourist Attractions Bamburgh Online GENUKI Northumberland Communities Trinity House
Henry II of England
Henry II known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou and Nantes, Lord of Ireland. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would come to be called the Angevin Empire. Henry was the son of daughter of Henry I of England, he became involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England occupied by Stephen of Blois, was made Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards became the Duke of Aquitaine by marrying Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII of France had been annulled. Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153, Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later. Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his grandfather Henry I.
During the early years of his reign the younger Henry restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou and Touraine. Henry's desire to reform the relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury; this controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's murder in 1170. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire at Louis' expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse. Henry and Eleanor had eight children -- five sons. Three of his sons would be king, though Henry the Young King was named his father's co-ruler rather than a stand-alone king; as the sons grew up, tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged by Louis and his son King Philip II. In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest.
France, Brittany and Boulogne allied themselves with the rebels. The Great Revolt was only defeated by Henry's vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills. Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183; the Norman invasion of Ireland provided lands for his youngest son John, but Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. By 1189, Young Henry and Geoffrey were dead, Philip played on Richard's fears that Henry II would make John king, leading to a final rebellion. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon castle in Anjou, he was succeeded by Richard. Henry's empire collapsed during the reign of his youngest son, John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, had long-term consequences. Henry's legal changes are considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems.
Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and a unified Britain. During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglocentric interpretations of his reign. Henry was born in France at Le Mans on 5 March 1133, the eldest child of the Empress Matilda and her second husband, Geoffrey the Fair, Count of Anjou; the French county of Anjou was formed in the 10th century and the Angevin rulers attempted for several centuries to extend their influence and power across France through careful marriages and political alliances. In theory, the county answered to the French king, but royal power over Anjou weakened during the 11th century and the county became autonomous.
Henry's mother was King of England and Duke of Normandy. She was born into a powerful ruling class of Normans, who traditionally owned extensive estates in both England and Normandy, her first husband had been the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. After her father's death in 1135, Matilda hoped to claim the English throne, but instead her cousin Stephen of Blois was crowned king and recognised as the Duke of Normandy, resulting in civil war between their rival supporters. Geoffrey took advantage of the confusion to attack the Duchy of Normandy but played no direct role in the English conflict, leaving this to Matilda and her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester; the war, termed the Anarchy by Victorian historians, degenerated into stalemate. Henry spent some of his earliest years in his mother's household, accompanied Matilda to Normandy in the late 1130s. Henry's childhood from the age of seven, was spent in Anjou, where he was educated by Peter of Saintes, a noted grammarian of the day. In late 1142, Geoffrey decided t