Was England considered a “colony” of France?

Was England considered a “colony” of France?


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After the "Norman conquest of England", many things including languages, the ways of life, etc. have changed a lot in Europe. Especially it affected the English language significantly that a lot of French words were borrowed by English.

Now, I would like to know how history describes the period when England was ruled by royal families of France. Also, if it was regarded as a colony, was there any independence war against the French rule in England? When did England became free of the political influence by France and by what event?


I'm going to say that England should not be considered as having been a colony of France.

From the wiki page for colony

a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign

When William took power he did so on behalf of himself and not on behalf of France, and he ruled as King of England. So while England had a sovereign who happened to be a foreigner, the English were not governed by a foreign state (i.e France).


It shouldn't. Before conquering England, William the Bastard was Duke of Normandy, a political entity that had been separate from West Francia (by 1066, the Kingdom of France) since 911 C.E. The Normans spoke a dialect of French, and William and his ancestors were technically vassals of the kings of France, but it was still more or less a separate entity.

Once William took the crown of England, he ruled both as King of England and Duke of Normandy, but he kept the administration of the two states entirely separate, and after his death he divided the two states between his sons Robert and William, who became Duke of Normandy and King of England respectively. Throughout this period, I don't think you can really call England a colony of either France or Normandy. Even later on, when Henry II established the unified Angevin state that included all of England and much of modern France, both his British and continental holdings were equal parts of a single kingdom, so the colony concept doesn't quite work here.

edit: Even though England was ruled as a separate kingdom following 1066, there was in fact some resistance to Norman rule during William's reign, especially in northern England. Hereward the Wake, for example, led a rebellion against William and his imported Norman nobility around 1070, along with Morcar, the ousted earl of Northumbria. William's imposition of a new set of Norman nobles and his confiscation of lands from those who refused to recognize him as king were motivating factors in these rebellions, which were crushed a few years later. However, the divide between the ruled Anglo-Saxon and the ruling Norman classes continued to play a part in English politics.


It was never really ruled by French royalty in the usual sense of the word. The Duke of Normandy was a vassal of the French king but such a relationship was often a two-way street. The vassal had obligations to the feudal lord but the lord also had obligations to the vassals. This was especially true of the kings of England who commanded enough influence and power that they couldn't be "bossed" around by the king of France in the way that a lesser vassal could. At times the Duke of Normandy, and hence England, would control vast amounts of France, even more than the King of France at times despite being a vassal of France. Much of this came to a head throughout the Hundred Years War where eventually England was pushed out of France proper, save for a few holdouts.

To answer the question, I would say England was never a colony of France. Despite its rulers being vassals of the King of France, they exercised too much autonomy to be considered "ruled" as a colony would imply.

Here's a map showing the lands claimed by the King of England around 1170. It illustrates how the vassal relationship between France and England is a bit deceiving as the King of France cannot exercise in practice what he might be able to in theory over the King of England. At times the King of England could claim the throne of France (specifically during the Hundred Years War), France could claim England through the vassal relationship but in reality was France able to exercise the kind of colonial control as it did in places like Algeria? Not even close.


NO. England was conquered by a "Frenchman," William the Conqueror, not France.

Unlike e.g. Christopher Columbus, who colonized the "Indians" and handed over his new colony to Queen Isabella of Spain, William did not conquer England for France.

He was a "warlord" who conquered England for himself, and crowned himself king.


The Kings of France were never Kings of England. However, the Kings of England did, on different occasions, do homage to the King of France but only for those lands they held in France - Normandy in the time of William and later Aquitaine after it become a possession of the English crown after the marriage of Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine.

On the other hand, Edward III (of England) and several kings after him, claimed to be the legitimate Kings of France. This was one of the main issues at stake in the 100 Years War.

By the way, it is not even quite clear whether England was even a colony of Denmark, since Cnut the Great ruled here as King of England, as the Wikipedia entry on Cnut explains:

As a Prince of Denmark, Cnut won the throne of England in 1016 in the wake of centuries of Viking activity in northwestern Europe. His accession to the Danish throne in 1018 brought the crowns of England and Denmark together, [emphasis mine]

He died in England and was buried in Winchester.


The idea that England would have been a "French colony" comes from our modern idea of united, clearly delimited, socially and politically distinct states.

But in 1066 there wasn't a "state" of France as they now exist. There was a king of France, who different nobles owed homage to, but he wasn't a direct ruler - for example, the king of France couldn't decide to put another Duke at the head of Normandy.

So many of the conquerors of England spoke some kind of French, but the conquest was not organised by the French state for the kingdom. It was done by William to conquer a kingdom. Which is why the dynasty he forms isn't "French rule over England", but "Norman rule of England".

That also explains why, for centuries later, William and his successors pay homage to the king of France for their Duchy of Normandy, but not for their English possessions: they are, indeed, independent rulers of England and simultaneously vassals of the French king in Normandy.


At that time, the Duke of Normandy was more or less independent from France, his fealty to the king amounting to more of a mutually beneficial relationship than that of a strict subject. If anything, England could have been viewed as a colony of Normandy, but colony implies ownership by a state. In this case, it was instead that both Normandy and England were controlled by William, both distinct territories under his rulership.


"colony", from Ancient Greek times, implies a settlement. E.g., the Greeks from one city-state in Greece would send a bunch of settlers to a place in Italy or in Sicily and settle it, and it would be a colony. The Normans did not settle England, even though a bunch of them moved over and took over estates, property, they did this as a ruling class, not as "settlers". It was a conquest, not a settlement. "New England" was both, and so was a colony, as was "New France", but the conquest was bit by bit.

Another distinction between conquest and colony is in what happens to the existing laws. According to Blackstone, conquest does not give the conqueror the right to change the law code. Thus, Porto Rico still has the Napoleonic Code it had in 1898. New Orleans to some extent also (purchase). But colonists always bring with them the laws of the mother country although they then may choose to modify or develop them or even start afresh. So the U.S kept the Common Law of England for several centuries.


"When did England became free of the political influence by France and by what event?"

This part of the question was only partially answered. As mentioned England was not ruled by the French king. But it was ruled by a French-speaking monarchy. It is a common misconception that the English at some point gained independence from this French-speaking monarchy, but this is not true. The current monarchy descends from William the Conqueror. There was no big war of independence as some might imagine. What did occur is that over time the English commoners began to resent the French-speaking aristocracy so the aristocrats had to switch to using English as a means to show themselves to be more English. Even today, though, the motto of the royal family is still written in Norman French.


History of England 1

King William II was also known by the Nickname: The Red King - Rufus - derived from the Latin word, meaning "reddish". This referred to William's ruddy complexion and red cheeks - his hair was not red it was long & blond

Reigned as King of England: 1087-1100

Date of Birth: Exact date of birth unknown

Family connections / Genealogy: He was the second son of William the Conqueror. His mother was Queen Matilda of Flanders. William Rufus had three brothers: Robert, who was called Court-hose or Short-legs Henry, called Beau-clerc or the fine scholar and Richard who died young

Date succeeded to the throne of England: 1087

Date when William Rufus died: 2 August 1100 aged 40

Cause of the Death of William Rufus: Shot by an arrow on a hunting trip in mysterious circumstances

Character of William Rufus: Cruel, selfish, self-indulgent and unjust

Accomplishments or why William Rufus was famous: Remembered for his mysterious death


What Was Life Like in England in the 1800s?

Key aspects of England in the 1800s include the large scale shifting of the population to the cities and towns. Also during this time, the Industrial Revolution led to the increase of factories and machine-made goods.

When the first census took place in 1801, only about 20 percent of the population lived in towns. This number had gone up to 50 percent by 1851. The large and sudden influx of people into the towns led to appalling housing conditions. Many houses were built literally back-to-back in areas that had only villages earlier. The designated Paving or Improvement Commissioners were allowed to work only in certain parishes and had no control over the new townships and therefore no scope to improve them.

There was no drainage in the streets, and toilets were shared by several houses. Houses consisted of one or two rooms which were overcrowded and without adequate heating or ventilation. The century saw numerous outbreaks of cholera. In the 1840s town councils brought in a measure of regularization and back-to-back buildings, and cellar houses were banned. Due to the Industrial Revolution, by the end of the century, most goods were made by machines in factories.


Interesting facts about England

England is the most populated country in the United Kingdom. The other countries that make up the United Kingdom are Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

England is bordered to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales.

England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world.

The name “England” is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means “land of the Angles“.

Official language is English.

1 billion people speak English. That’s 1 in every 7 on earth.

In 2015, England was estimated to have a population of 63,843,856.

England has a large economy and uses the pound sterling as its currency.

London, England’s capital, set on the River Thames, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times.

The official London home of the British monarch (king or queen) is Buckingham Palace.

England includes many small islands such as the Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly and Hayling Island.

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, at an elevation of 978 meters (3,209 feet) above sea level.

The longest river in England is the River Thames, it flows through London and is slightly shorter than the River Severn at around 346 kilometres (215 miles) in length.

England’s terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England.

England’s fauna is mainly made up of small animals and is notable for having few large mammals, but in similarity with other island nations many bird species.

English food has traditionally been based on beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish and generally served with potatoes and one other vegetable.

The most common and typical foods eaten in England include the sandwich, fish and chips, pies like the cornish pasty, trifle and roasts dinners.

English people consume more tea per capita than anybody else in the world (2.5 times more than the Japanese and 22 times more than the Americans or the French).

Famous English Scientists including Stephen Hawking, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Jane Goodall among many others.

There have been a number of influential English authors but perhaps the most well known is William Shakespeare, who wrote classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet.

English famous musicians/bands include: The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd, New order, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Black Sabbath, The Who, The Clash, Radiohead, Coldplay, Muse …

The highest temperature ever recorded in England was 38.5°C (101.3°F ) in Brogdale, Kent, on 10 August 2003.

Windsor Castle in the English county of Berkshire is an official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world.

After the Norman Conquest in 1066 French quickly replaced English in all domains associated with power. French was the official language of England for about 300 years, from 1066 till 1362. French was used at the royal court, by the clergy, the aristocracy, in law courts. But the vast majority of the population continued to speak English.

The Barbary Lion is a national animal of England. Lion was the nickname of England’s medieval warrior rulers with a reputation for bravery, such as Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.

The red rose is widely recognised as the national flower of England.

The Championships, Wimbledon, commonly known as “Wimbledon“, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is widely considered the most prestigious.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem claims to be not only Nottingham’s but in fact England’s earliest pub – dating from 1189.

Beer in England has been brewed for hundreds of years. As a beer brewing country, England is known for its top fermented cask beer (also called real ale) which finishes maturing in the cellar of the pub rather than at the brewery and is served with only natural carbonation.

A Beer Wave of 1.4 million liters (388,000 Gallons) flooded London in 1814 after a huge vat ruptured.

The first hot chocolate store opened in London.

One of England’s quaintest traditional event is the cheese rolling competition in Brockworth, Gloucestershire. Every year in May people chase Double Gloucester cheese down the steep Cooper’s Hill.

80% of information stored on all computers in the world is in English

English police do not carry guns except in emergencies.

The shortest war on record was fought between Zanzibar and England in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.

The first full-scale working railway steam locomotive was built in the United Kingdom in 1804 by Richard Trevithick, an English engineer born in Cornwall.

There is a limit of 12 minutes of commercials, per hour of television, in England.


Who Are France's Current Allies and Enemies?

A part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), France is an ally with all the member nations, and France has no official enemies. Other NATO members are the United States, Canada and most European nations, among others. Although NATO does not specifically name any enemies, the organization was formed in an attempt to discourage the USSR from attacking or invading any of its members.

Although France and England have shared a rivalry for centuries and have fought a number of wars against each other, modern history sees both countries as allies. This was particularly true in the world wars, where a united front against Germany and her allies was needed.

World War I also provided the impetus for the United States to become an official ally of France. Not intervening in the war for three years, America finally joined Great Britain and France in 1917, forming an alliance known as The Allies. America again came to its allies' help late in World War II, when American troops landed in Normandy, France to help destroy the invading German military under Adolf Hitler.

France has supplied the United States with troops during a number of wars in which France was not directly involved, including the War on Terror, where several thousand troops were sent to aid the United States in compliance with the NATO agreement that stipulates all members give aid to any member if attacked.


34. Doesn’t the Squabble Ever Cease??

In 1183, another round of fighting came up in the dysfunctional Plantagenet family. Henry II’s oldest living son and heir, also named Henry, went to war with Richard, his younger brother.

When Henry died of dysentery during the conflict, his father named Richard his new heir, while John would take Richard’s title of Duke of Aquitaine.

In an incredible example of wanting to have his cake and eat it too, Richard refused to give up Aquitaine. Henry II sent his sons John and Geoffrey to bring their older brother to heel.

Getty Images

What's the Difference Between Britain and England?

Moments after Andy Murray’s victory over Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, the New York Times went with a headline that raised some eyebrows: “After 77 Years, Murray and England Rule.” The story was expanded for the print edition, and the headline tweaked—first switching out “England” for “Britain,” then changing the second clause.

That is because—despite what many think—England and Britain aren't the same thing. The best analogy would be to call the United States the Midwest: It disenfranchises a significant proportion of the country, and risks offense. It’s a common misconception that has been going on for centuries, and it’s difficult to unravel.

Cry God for Andy, England and St George!

“Britain” was initially the term for the home of a group of Celts who inhabited modern day England and Wales (and a small part of southern Scotland) before Roman occupation. It was nothing more than that—and remained that way until 1603, when James I of England (who was also James VI of Scotland) sought to unite his two countries. He titled himself King of Great Britain, though opposition and wariness meant that Great Britain didn’t exist during his lifetime, and though subsequent kings and queens ruled both Scotland and England, the governments beneath them were separate for Scotland and England.

It took another century, and the ascension to the throne of Queen Anne in 1702 following a succession crisis, to put the wheels of union back into motion. Anne’s first speech to parliament as Queen of England explained it was “very necessary” to unite the two countries.

Teams of negotiators were drawn up, and after years of talks the Acts of Union 1707 were passed in the English and Scottish Parliaments, drawing together the two countries into the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

So what is it today?

Today, “Great Britain” refers to the entirety of the United Kingdom, save for Northern Ireland (or, if you want to think of it in terms of landmass, the British Isles minus the island of Ireland). This is why technically, the country that flies the Union flag is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and not just Great Britain. But invariably there’s slippage in the definition: When people refer to Great Britain (or just plain Britain), quite often they mean the United Kingdom.

Still with us? Well what if we told you that today most Britons drop the “Great” from Great Britain? If you ask, they’ll say they’re British, from Britain no one fills out their passport’s nationality section to say they’re United Kingdom-ish.

But Andy Murray’s definitely not English.

So let’s break it down: England + Scotland + Wales = Great Britain. Great Britain + Northern Ireland = the United Kingdom. Of course, just as New Yorkers and Bostonians share a friendly rivalry, so do Scottish and Englishmen and women.

In fact, the divisions can run deep between the two. Scottish national pride can rub against the natural gravitation of the seats of power, commerce and industry to the heart of England. The tension is so bad that there will be a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014—which could make the English/British/Scottish conundrum a lot easier to untangle.


The Difference Between the UK, Great Britain and England

lot of people get confused by different terms for the political or geographic body that includes England some people will use Great Britain and the U.K. interchangeably. There are, however, some key differences between Britain,Great Britain, theUnited Kingdom, andEngland.

Great Britain

Roman Britannia, or "Britain"

The name "Britain" comes from an old Roman name "Britannia," used for the regions we'd now identify as England and Wales. Britannia was the territory under Roman rule, which ended at Hadrian's Wall (which divided Scotland, or "Caledonia," from Britannia).

This should not be confused with Brittany in France. They are connected, though. Brittany was, at one time, called "Lesser Britain" (as opposed to "Great Britain") since it was settled by Britons from across the Channel.

England

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. England is the largest and most populous nation in the UK. It is bounded by Wales and the Irish Sea to the west and Scotland to the north. The English Channel, the Strait of Dover, and the North Sea separate it from Europe to the east. The channel islands like the Isle of Wight, off the southern mainland in the English Channel are considered part of England. The Isles of Scilly, in the Atlantic Ocean off the southwestern tip of the mainland, are also considered part of England.

Great Britain

The island of Great Britain, also called "Albion" by the Romans, consists of three somewhat autonomous regions that include England,ScotlandandWales. It is located east of Ireland and northwest ofFrancein theAtlantic Ocean. The term also includes several offshore islands, including the Hebrides in Scotland.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (commonly abbreviated UK) is a country that includes England, Scotland, Wales andNorthern Ireland. Its official name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. While England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are called countries, there exist regulations and policies in those states that are determined by the UK. The capital city of the United Kingdom is London, although the different countries maintain parliaments in Cardiff (Wales), Edinburgh (Scotland), and Belfast (Northern Ireland).

The U.K. formerly encompassed the entire island of Ireland, and the islands were collectively referred to as the British Isles. But, in the early 20th century much of Ireland won autonomy as the Irish Free State, and later won independence as the Republic of Ireland.

The United Kingdom comprises, quite literally, the united kingdoms of Scotland and England. They shared monarchs for generations, but were distinct entities. That changed when the Scottish king James Stuart (James I of England and James VI of Scotland) inherited the throne of England from Elizabeth I. James was the grandson of Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. As Elizabeth I was childless, this made him her successor.

A century later, his descendant, Queen Anne of England, Scotland, and Ireland, would pass the Acts of Union. In England and Scotland both, the parliament passed an act of union formalizing a melding of the two states. The result was the United Kingdom of Great Britain. This would later include Ireland after then Acts of Union of 1800.

Welsh people were long considered part of the Kingdom of England. They would not establish their own parliament until the late 1990s.

The term U.K. also includes several dependencies and territories, nations that are political distinct but rely on the U.K. for essential services. These include Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, and other smaller islands.

The Commonwealth of Nations

TheCommonwealth of Nationsis a voluntary association of 52 states or countries that were formerly part of the British Empire. This does not include the United States.

16 members of theCommonwealth of Nationsrecognize the United Kingdom's Monarch as their own king or queen, but remain politically independent. These are identified as Commonwealth realms.

33 other Commonwealth countries are republics, which means they don't recognize a monarch. However, they still participate in the partnership.

The Commonwealth has no constitution. The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, however, states that the Commonwealth is "a voluntary association of independent sovereign states each responsible for its own policies, consulting and co-operating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace."


Elizabeth I and France

France was to be a constant thorn in the side of Elizabeth I throughout her reign. England had lost the last of her territories in France during the reign of Mary, when Calais was lost. Therefore, France controlled the whole of the northern coastline and posed a major threat to England. A second major issue that had to involve France was the treatment of Mary Stuart, (Mary, Queen of Scots). Mary had been married to Francis II, King of France. His early death led to Mary returning to her native Scotland but she was still held in high regard in France and had many powerful supporters there. When Mary declared that she was the rightful heir to the English throne and that Elizabeth was illegitimate, she received support from France.

None of this boded well for Anglo-France relations. France had given military help to Scotland during the ongoing problems between England and her northern neighbour. In fact, the only thing that seemed to help out England with regards to France was Spain. While England and Spain had a good relationship, France could not afford to antagonise England for fear that Spain might attack from the southwest. Likewise, France could not afford to attack Spain without risking a war on two fronts if England attacked from the north.

Just two years into her reign, Elizabeth had a success against the French. The French had announced their intention to help the Scots defeat the revolt of the Lords of the Congregation. At the same time, the French stated that Mary was the rightful Queen of England. Rather than waiting for more French troops to land in Scotland, Elizabeth sent troops into Scotland and forced the French force at Leith to negotiate a settlement. In the Treaty of Edinburgh (July 6 th 1560) it was agreed that all English and French troops would withdraw from Scotland and that Mary Stuart would renounce her use of the coat of arms and title of England.

From 1562 on France was enveloped in the French Wars of Religion. While this civil war continued, there was less pressure on the English as France had too many internal problems to deal with. Elizabeth, supported by the Privy Council, used the turmoil in France to reassert an English presence there. In particular, Elizabeth and Cecil wanted to reclaim Calais. It was an unsuccessful venture as the various factions in France joined forces to repel a common enemy.

After 1564, Catherine de Medici ruled as regent in France for Charles IX. Catherine was not sympathetic to the cause of Mary Stuart and without the support from Paris Mary’s plight in Scotland was made a lot more difficult. This obviously helped Elizabeth.

One area that Elizabeth and Cecil tried to exploit was to use the French against the Spanish in the Netherlands. This opportunity came when Catherine withdrew French support for Mary Stuart, thus helping Elizabeth with the ‘Scottish problem’. By being freer of issues north of the border, Elizabeth and her advisors could concentrate more of their time on the pressing issue of what was happening in the Netherlands – the major issue being that the Duke of Alva was just thirty miles across the English Channel with 50,000 soldiers at a time when relations between London and Madrid were deteriorating.

To advance and develop the newfound friendship between England and France, Elizabeth began negotiations to marry the Duke of Alençon, though this came to nothing. It was not until 1578 that France was once again in a position to help the Dutch rebels when the Duke of Anjou agreed to send French troops to the Netherlands. To ensure that Anjou kept to his word, Elizabeth offered him her hand in marriage. This provoked furious reactions among certain sections of society in England, which in themselves provoked Elizabeth into vicious reprisals. John Stubbs, who wrote a book attacking the planned marriage, had his right hand cut off, as did the distributor. The punishment was carried out in public in Westminster and the reaction of the crowd should have indicated to the Queen that there was much sympathy for the two men.

However, there was some logic in what Elizabeth planned which the public probably did not realise. Philip of Spain was becoming increasingly more powerful and Elizabeth believed that only by combining the power of France and England could this Spanish threat be countered. The prospective marriage between Elizabeth and Anjou never took place but Elizabeth still offered Anjou support for his expedition into the Netherlands – to the sum of £60,000. Anjou’s campaign was a failure but the developments in Anglo-French relations since 1558 showed that the hostility that existed at the end of Mary’s reign had diluted.


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