The region has played a significant role in history throughout the ages. Conquered by the Romans, who founded the cities of Rouen, Lisieux and Evreux among others, Normandy was invaded by Christian Nordic tribes during the 2nd century and was occupied by them until the Franks came to dominance two centuries later.
Viking Invasion and Independent Dukedom.
The Middle Ages witnessed the creation of the many monasteries and abbeys that still adorn the countryside (Saint-Jumièges and Saint-Wandrille). In 800, all of Normandy was overrun by the Vikings, who later ceded the region to Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy, in 911. Normandy remained an independent kingdom for three centuries, a period that saw the 1066 invasion of England by Duke William the Conqueror, who successfully defended his claim to the throne bequeathed by his cousin.
During the Hundred Years War, the city of Rouen was the infamous site of the trial and torture of Joan of Arc. Shortly thereafter, Normandy was united with the French crown when Charles, the last Duke of Normandy, was dispossessed of his domain in 1204.
The Battle of Normandy.
The 1870 the Franco-Prussian War led to the occupation of the Seine Valley area, but Normandy’s most crucial military role came with the German invasion in 1940. On June 6, 1944, the coast was the setting for D-Day, the landing of 135,000 men of the Allied Forces. D-Day history buffs can visit www.normandiememoire.com for details on the Battle of Normandy.