Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Begin End Event Description Keywords Related Events
1102 1167

Empress Matilda

As only heir to Henry I, Matilda was supposed to inherit her father's throne after his death. But since she was female and, above all, married to the count of Anjou, she was not appealing to the Normans, who favored her cousin Stephen of Blois instead of her. This conflict led to a long civil war between them and only ended after Stephen agreed to make Matilda's son Henry II his successor.

Empress Matilda was the daughter of Henry I. After the death of her first husband, Holy Roman Emperor Henry V of Germany (hence Matilda's title 'the Empress'), her father arranged for her to marry Geoffrey of Anjou to secure the southern borders. He tried to persuade or force a number of English magnates to swear an oath of fealty to his daughter as heir to the throne, but since a female ruler was not appealing to the Normans, her cousin Stephen of Blois was able to take the throne from her. With the support of her half brother Robert of Gloucester, Matilda took up arms against Stephen. What followed was a long civil war with brought great misery and devastation to the country. At last, a compromise was reached between the opposing parties, which ensured the succession of Matilda's son, Henry II. Matilda continued to support her son, especially during the early years of his reign and in his struggle with Thomas Becket.
History, Kings + Rulers, Middle English Period, Political