England had just about recovered from being conquered and ruled by the Danes between 1016 and 1042 when Edward the Confessor neglected to provide the kingdom with an heir.
Edward had spent much of his youth in exile in Normandy and had somehow managed to give the impression to the Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard that he was his chosen successor as king of England. And he wasn't the only claimant; there was Edgar Aetheling the half-German grandson of Edmund Ironside and across the North Sea Harald Hardrada the king of Norway rather thought that he had a good claim as well.
Not that any of this made much difference, when Edward finally died the earl of Wessex Harold Godwinson stepped up and made himself king Harold II. (Edgar Aetheling was too young to really have much say in the matter.) The deciding factor was always going to be the ability to back up one's claims with the force of arms.
Harold successfully saw off (and killed) Harald Hardrada at the battle of Stamford Bridge only to succumb to the Norman William the Bastard at Hastings. With this single victory William the Bastard made himself William I of England and founded a new dynasty of French speaking kings that were to rule England for the best part of a century.
1066 - On the 27th September William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, lands at Pevensey, on the 14th October he defeats and kills Harold II in battle at Senlac Hill, better known as the Battle of Hastings and on the 25th December William is crowned king William I of England at Westminster
1067 - Resistence emerges as Eadric the Wild leads a revolt in Shropshire and the Welsh marches.
1068 - Harold II's mother Gytha leads the resistance in the West Country but eventually the city of Exeter falls to William I; in the north Edgar Aetheling captures York but is soon driven out again by William I.
1069 - More trouble in the north as Swein Esthrithson appears with a large fleet and is joined by both Edgar Aetheling and Waltheof Siwardson the earl of Huntingdon. The revolt in the north is brutally surpressed and, at the battle of Stafford, William I defeats the rebels in the Welsh marches
1070 - The city of Chester finally surrenders to William I and Eadric the Wild decides to give in as well, but Hereward the Wake begins his revolt in East Anglia. Lanfranc is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury
1072 - William I invades Scotland, Malcom III rapidly capitulates and by the resulting Treaty of Abernethy recognises William I as his overlord
1075 - The Revolt of the Earls, Roger of Breteuil and Ralph Guader hatch a plot to drive William I out of England, but the plot is betrayed by Waltheof Siwardson and comes to nothing . Following the capture of Gruffudd ap Cynan, Robert of Rhuddlan occupies north Wales.
1076 - The earl Waltheof is beheaded at Winchester; William leads his army into Brittany to lay siege to Dol in Brittany where Ralph Guader is hiding out, but is beaten off by Phillip I the French king
1079 - Robert Curthose rebels against his father but is eventually reconciled after the intervention of his mother
1080 - A minor incident in Durham, the bishop Walker, together with a hundred Normans are killed, this new revolt in the north is surpressed by Odo of Bayeux acting as regent for the absent William I.
1085 - Believing that Knud II of Denmark is about to invade, William I raises a large army to protect England; The expected invasion never comes, but William I orders a nationwide census of the resources available to him
1086 - The census is now completed and becomes known as the Domesday Book
1087 - On the 9th September William I dies ; his son William Rufus becomes king of England, Robert Curthose becomes Duke of Normandy
1088 - Odo of Bayeux leads a revolt against William II and in support of his brother. He is joined by his brother Robert of Mortain and a number of other Norman barons from the Welsh marches but is defeated by William II and goes into exile in Normandy
1090 - William II invades Normandy but reaches an accomodation with his brother Robert Curthose
1091 - William II defeats an invasion of England led by Malcolm III of Scotland, and re-imposes the terms of the Treaty of Abernethy
1092 - William II seizes control of Carlisle
1093 - Rhys ap Tewdwr of Wales is killed resisting Norman expansionism in Brycheiniog, Norman forces rapidly occupy most of south Wales; in November Malcolm III of Scotland rebels but is killed at the so-called battle of Alnwick, his brother Donald Bane succeeds him as king.
1094 - The First Anti-Norman rebellion in Wales; the Normans are driven out of much of north and central Wales
1095 - William II leads an expedition into Wales to quell the revolt but meets with little success
1096 - William II lends his brother 10,000 marks to finance his participation in the First Crusade
1097 - William II's second expedition into Wales; it proves as fruitless as the first; Edgar the son of Malcolm III becomes king in Scotland after defeating and killing Donald Bane with English assistance. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm is driven into exile in Rome and William II|William] seizes his estates.
1099 - In July Jerusalem falls to the Crusaders
1100 - In August William II dies in a hunting "accident" at the New Forest, brother Henry I is crowned king three days later and issues his Charter of Liberties; in November Robert Curthose returns from the First Crusade
1102 - Robert of Belleme revolts against Henry I and is besieged in his castle at Arundel, he soon surrenders and is expelled from England retiring into Normandy.
1106 - Henry I invades Normandy and defeats Robert Curthose at the battle of Tinchebrai; England and Normandy are united under a single ruler once more. Robert Curthose spends the rest of his life as a prisoner of Henry I.
1107 - In Scotland, Edgar dies and is succeeded by his brother Alexander
1110 - Henry I loses control of the county of Maine in France
1114 - Henry I leads a major expedition into Wales and imposes terms on the Welsh kings; his daughter Matilda marries the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. He can now turn his attention to securing Normandy from the threats of the French and Robert's son William Clito.
1120 - By combination of warfare and diplomacy Henry Idefeats both the supporters of William Clito and the French securing his hold on Normandy. In November The Tragedy of the White Ship; William Aetheling the heir to the English throne is drowned
1127 - With no legitimate male heir, Henry I designates his daughter Matilda as his heir and gets the nobility to swear allegiance to her
1129 - Matilda now widowed, re-marries Geoffrey the Handsome, Count of Anjou;
1133 - Matilda and Geoffrey have a son, they name him Henry, born on the 5th March
1134 - In February, Robert Curthose dies at Cardiff Castle
1135 - Henry I dies in December, his cousin Stephen seizes control of the crown and wins the support of the Pope and most of the Anglo-Norman nobility, and then spends the next few years rapidly alienating most of his supporters; The Anarchy begins
1138 - Matilda's half brother, Robert of Gloucester declares on her behalf; her uncle king David I of Scotland fancies his chances in England as well, but is comprehensively defeated at the battle of the Standard
1139 - In September Matilda invades England, makes for Bristol and brings the west of England under her control.
1141 - Stephen is defeated and captured in Feburary at the battle at Lincoln. Matilda gains the support of the clergy who elect her Anglorum Domina that is 'Lady of the English' at a council held at Winchester in April; by June she is in London organising her coronation. But the citizens of London are soon fed up with her and chase her out. Matilda is defeated at the battle of Winchester in September and forced to exchange Stephen for Robert of Gloucester.
1144 - Geoffrey takes control of Normandy, but sporadic civil war continues in England.
1148 - Matilda finally decides she's had enough and withdraws from England.
1151 - Matilda and Geoffrey's son Henry formally becomes Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou on the death of his father.
1152 - Henry marries Eleanor of Aquitaine
1153 - In January Henry invades England but before any showdown with Stephen takes place, Eustace, Stephen's son and heir dies in August; Stephen gives up and signs the Treaty of Winchester in November, a deal that leaves Henry as his nominated successor
1154 - Stephen the last Norman king of England finally dies in October; Henry II becomes the first Plantaganet or Angevin king of England