Battle of Hastings

DVD, Region 1 U.S. and Canada only

The Battle of Hastings occurred on 14 October 1066 during the Norman conquest of England, between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy and the Saxon army under King Harold II. It took place at Senlac Hill, approximately 10 km (6 1⁄3 miles) northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex Shire, and was a decisive Norman victory.

Harold II was killed in the battle, legend has it that he was shot through the eye with an arrow. He was the last English king to die in battle on English soil until Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field. The battle marked the last successful foreign invasion of the British Isles. Although there was further Saxon resistance, this battle is seen as the point at which William gained control of England, becoming its first Norman ruler as King William I.

The battle also established the superiority of the combined arms attack over an army predominately composed of infantry, demonstrating the effectiveness of archers, cavalry and infantry working cooperatively together. The dominance of cavalry forces over infantry would continue until the emergence of the longbow.

The famous Bayeux Tapestry depicts the events before and during the battle. Battle Abbey, founded by King William, marks the site where the battle was fought.  it serves as a memorial to the dead and may have been an act of penance for the bloodshed. The site is open to the public and is the location of annual re-enactments of the battle.

Battles 1001-1900
Battle of Hastings, William Duke of Normandy
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