Normans were and are inhabitants of Normandy, a picturesque western coastal part of France. They are of mixed descendence, much of their blood being of Scandinavian or Viking origin, the rest Frankish (or French). The Vikings occupied most of Normandy in very early medieval times.
The first known important ruler was Rollo, who secured the area from a king of France. We must remember that France as such was much smaller than it is today. Inheritance laws, being much the same as England’s, were inadequate, since younger sons were left without territory in the testament. The reaction was a hunger for more territory, especially a collection of islands directly to the north called Britain, itself divided into many separate (and usually warring) kingdoms. The man to do the job was an illegitimate Duke of Normandy called William. (more…)