Rollo: First ruler of Normandy
This Viking leader, whose origins were either Danish or Norwegian, began conducting raids on France in the ninth century. In 911, under the Treaty of St. Claire-sur-Epte, Charles the Simple, king of the West Franks, gave Rollo part of the area now called Normandy (for Northman’s land) in an effort to have him protect it from other Viking raiders. Rollo later expanded his control of the region, and around the time he died, in about 928, was succeeded by his son, William Longsword. In 1066, another one of Rollo’s descendants, William, duke of Normandy, led a successful invasion of England. William the Conqueror, as he became known, went on to serve as king of England until 1087. More than a thousand years after Rollo’s death, Allied troops during World War II landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.