Stamp design showing William - the conqueror, castle, and Norman ships.
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of mostly Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock. Their identity emerged initially in the first half of the tenth century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries. The name "Normans" derives from Nortmanni (Northmen), after the Vikings who founded Normandy.
The Battle of Hastings took place on 14 October 1066. It was the decisive Norman victory in the Norman Conquest of England, fought between the Norman army of Duke William II of Normandy and the English army of King Harold II. The battle took place at Senlac Hill, approximately 6 miles northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex.
The Norman army was not powerful enough, so nobles as far as Southern Italy were called to convene at Caen, in Normandy. There, William promised land and titles to his followers and claimed that the voyage was secured by the Pope. William assembled a fleet said to number 696 ships—if accurate this would imply an army of over 20,000 men.
The Battle of Hastings had a tremendous influence on the English language. The Normans were French-speaking, and as a result of their rule, they introduced many French words that started in the nobility and eventually became part of the English language itself.
Click here to read in detail about the battle and its aftermath.