In 1066, the duke of Normandy, William II, defeated an English army at the battle of Hastings and made good on his claim to be the rightful king of England. William’s victory forged a closer, if tense, relationship between England and France, and this fractious relationship would eventually result in the Hundred Years War. This was also a period of immense political, legal, and cultural development in English society. The Norman victory led to the introduction of Norman French as the language of the elite in English society, and the incorporation of many French words into the developing English language. Norman French political and legal customs, many of them drawing heavily on imperial Roman law, did not bring about the elimination of older Anglo-Saxon political and legal customs, but led to a fascinating synthesis of the two and a concomitant balance of power between the kings and their subjects best seen in Magna Carta. Norman imperialistic policies were embraced by the English people themselves. Long before they founded their North American colonies, the English were actively attempting to colonize their neighbors in the British Isles: Wales, Ireland and Scotland. We’ll examine all these aspects of English history from 1066-1485 and will see that this was a formative period for English society as we know it today.