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Feudalism was thought to be created by the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. Because vast amounts of land were left unclaimed. Many rulers rose to claim this land as their own. In 1066 William the conqueror, leader of the Normans was the first ruler to use feudalism as a system of class, governmental and military workings in medieval Europe. Following the defeat of the English anglo-saxons at the Battle of Hastings. William the Conqueror became the first King of England. King William I, was one of the most powerful leaders of that time. He kept his land strong with this concept and it began to be spread to other kingdoms. This governmental system of feudalism used in medieval times gave rulers structure in terms of governmental and military concepts. William was crowned on Christmas Day 1066 in Westminster Abbey. Three months later, he returned to Normandy leaving two people (one of whom was his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux) behind to administer the kingdom. However, it took William six years to because of military conquests, and even then he had to face constant plotting and fighting in England. In 1068, King Harold's sons ( King Harold was was the King that King william defeat at the battle of Hastings to claim the throne of England) raided the south-west coast of England (dealt with by William's local commanders), and there were uprisings in other parts all over England William appointed earls who, in Wales and in all parts of the kingdom, undertook to guard the threatened frontiers and maintain internal security in return for land. This started as the beginning of feudalism. Because King William was away in Normandy he had no way to protect England himself, he had people help protect his kingdom in England in return for certain amounts of land. In order to be given land, a lord must make the person he wants to give the land to, a vassal. To obtain the land, there was a ceremony of homage in which the oath of fealty was taken. This was an agreement between the lord and the vassal. It basically meant that the lord would protect the vassal from outside forces and the vassal would fight for the lord. The oath made a free man faithful to his lord for as long as he lived and he would be free of his oath if the lord ordered him to do something contrary to the rights of a free man. A man was considered free if he independently owned land. Children of free men were considered free. A free man could be called up by a king to be in his army. Free men were liable for dues and taxes. They had a right to go to king's courts to settle disputes. There was competition between free men with power. The more powerful became lords and the weaker needed support and they became vassals. The lord promised to protect a vassal and lend aid if attacked and stand by him in a court of law and provide him with food, drink and means of livelihood. If a vassal failed to uphold the oath it was considered a serious crime, called a felony. Lords provided much for the vassals and the two were seen as friends. A feudalistic society with an organized system of protection helped maintain a steady balance and helped sustain the kingdoms all around Europe like France, Scotland, England, and Hungary. A mutual agreement between a Lord and his subordinates is the best way to describe what feudalism is. In the middle of the hierarchy were the Lord's vassals. These people were nobility who served an oath of loyalty to their Lord. One example of this agreement is King Arthur and his appointment of all the knights of the round table such as Sir Lancelot. The contract they created was mutually beneficially. In exchange for some land and protection, vassals were required to provide a certain amount of military service. All the people except for the kings had a ruling lord to whom they owed loyalty and service. The king awarded land grants called fiefs to the nobles and sometimes to the church...
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