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William the Conqueror

Duke of Normandy, a province of France, and the leader of the Norman Conquest of England. He defeated the English forces at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and became the first Norman King of England.

King John

abused his power and was forced by his nobles to sign the Magna Carta in 1215 C.E.

Hugh Capet

elected as king by feudal nobles in France; established Capetian Dynasty of French kings

Joan of Arc

French peasant girl who was inspired by religious visions to organize French resistance to the English during the Hundred Years War. She helped France win the Hundred Years War and to have Charles VII crowned king of France.


English poet remembered as author of the Canterbury Tales (1340-1400)

Canterbury Tales

A poem by Geoffry Chaucer that follows a band of English pilgrims traveling to Thomas Beckett's tomb. It was written in the vernacular and tells us a great deal about the everyday lives of ordinary people in the Middle Ages.

Black Death

Bubonic Plague that spread across Europe, killing about 1/3 of the population. It entered Europe in the port of Messina, Sicily and was spread by fleas on infected rats.

Hundred Years War

The series of wars between England and France (1337-1453) over control of the French throne, in which England lost all its possessions in France except Calais.

Henry II

King of England who created Common Law and the jury system.

Philip II

Expanded the Spanish Empire in the Western Hemisphere

Edward I

King of England who created the Parliament in 1295

Ferdinand and Isabella

King and queen of Spain who took over Catholic Spain in the Reconquista and started the Spanish Inquisition

Domesday Book

A record of all the property and holdings in England commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1066 so he could determine the extent of his lands and wealth


charged with the collection and management of the royal revenue (taxes) in medieval England

Common Law

a legal system created by Henry II that was based on custom and previous court rulings

Magna Carta

Document, signed by King John of England in 1215, that limited the power of the king by declaring that the king was bound by the same laws as other citizens of England. It contained the ideas of due process and the right to a fair and speedy trial that are included in the protections offered by the U.S. Bill of Rights.


the national legislature of England, created by Edward I, made up of the House of Lords and the House of Commons

lay investiture

practice, or ceremony, in which kings and nobles appointed church officials


declare invalid; cancel


The Reconquering of Spain from the Muslims in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella. This unified Spain into a powerful nation-state.


a medieval system that tried to reconcile faith and reason

flying buttresses

stone support on the outside of a building that allowed builders to construct higher walls and leave space for large stained-glass windows


the everyday speech and language of ordinary people


a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease (i.e., Bubonic Plague/Black Death)

illuminated manuscript

A manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders, and miniature illustrations.

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