Interesting question posed at the end. If the Normans never conquered England, what would the English be like today? I'm assuming they'd be much more Scandinavian-like in temperament. Would they be even gayer?
Even with the Normans being descended from Nordic stock, they injected a large amount of French custom and culture into English society. I guess my question was that would England have had a smaller role in the continental history of Europe if the line of post-William French kings had never taken power and never had as many interests on the mainland. Or would they have a more reclusive role in European (and world) history like the other isolated Nordic outposts of Northern Europe.
into this discussion.
In a recent documentary on British history that I watched, I learned that the actual number of Norman colonists was only around 30,000, yet they managed to thoroughly dominate the island, so much so that Brits who retain Norman surnames are healthier, wealthier, and more highly educated than their fellow Brits to this day.
We do know that Norman French was the tongue of the Royal Court for several generations after William's landing.
The question that Kobresia is asking is what characteristics did the Normans infuse into the English. This is something that needs to be explored some more.
The article is written in the Slave register that is so popular at the Guardian. I'm surprised it didn't conclude in a call for reparations from Normans for the holocaust of 1066.
Looking at it from modern times, while it may be the case that the descendants of Normans are materially better off than other English, it isn't the case that heroic spirit of the Norman or Plantagenet kings made a large contribution to the English character. It's notable that after those two races passed out of power, no great men ruled England right up to the modern day. Though the Tudors came to power in an heroic fashion, that promise was shabbily delivered-upon and they were the ones who were instrumental in transforming England into the 'nation of shopkeepers' that Napoleon disdained. If the heroic spirit of the Norman and Angevin men survived anywhere, it seems apparent that it was in the men who built Britain's empire. Even then it feels more like an echo of that greatness than an image of it; while men like Governor-General Wellesley were undoubtedly men of power, thanks to Britain's wealth and technological superiority they did not face serious odds of losing in the colored world. The Normans and Plantagenets triumphed in situations where the odds were not in their favor and they faced enemies with roughly the same technological ability and wealth (sometimes more). Richard forced the hated Saracen to withdraw from the field of battle even after losing both his royal comrades, one to the river and one to the flux, is/was there an Englishman since then who could boast of such a deed or even theoretically accomplish it?