Rollo the Viking was an important ruler in the 10th century. He is known for becoming the first ruler of Normandy. He was instrumental in raiding the coastlines of England, Ireland, Scotland, Flanders, and more importantly the Seine River in France.
Through his military prowess, he forced King Charles the Simple of the Western Franks to cede lands to him which became the Duchy of Normandy. His descendants and followers would later be known as the Normans.
Rollo the Viking was born sometime around 846 to 860 C.E. in present-day Norway, although some historians believe he was born in Denmark. The date of his birth is also fiercely debated amongst historians. His father was Rognvald, the Earl of More. He was born into a noble warrior family and received a military education at a young age. Not much else is known about his childhood years.
Rollo the Viking formed a sea going force that was independent of Norwegian King Harald Fairhair. He took his forces south and began raiding the coastlines of Scotland, Ireland, and England in the 870s C.E.
He led a force of 100 ships up the Seine River where his forces were instrumental in taking over the city of Rouen in 876 C.E. From there he laid siege to Paris in 885 C.E. but was unsuccessful in his efforts of entering the city.
At this point Rollo the Viking took his forces to Bayeux and Evreux. While sacking Bayeux, Rollo the Viking decided to take Poppa the daughter of Berenger who was the Count of Rennes. He married Poppa and she gave birth to his son William Longsword. Their son would later become second ruler of Normandy after his father’s death.
Most historians agree that Rollo the Viking continued his raids along the Seine River. His actions were a problem for the West Frankish King Charles the Simple. The continued raids also prompted King Charles the Simple to enter into a treaty with Rollo the Viking.
The two leaders signed the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911 C.E. Rollo the Viking was given lands around the city of Rouen to the Seine River. In return, Rollo the Viking stopped his fearful raids and guaranteed to fight against other raids by fellow Norsemen.
King Charles the Simple met again with Rollo the Viking in 918 C.E. at the border of Vexin and Roumis. The second charter signed by the two leaders gave the city of Rouen and the territory west to the border of Brittany to Rollo the Viking.
The charter helped Rollo the Viking grow his Normandy empire and by 924 C.E. this included the cities of Bayeux and Maine.
Rollo the Viking was not always fighting against King Charles the Simple. He fought many times for the Castle of Eu against King Raol. He also defended King Charles the Simple when Herbert II of Vermandois invaded western Frankish territory.
Rollo the Viking died in 928 and 933 C.E. when a third parcel of land was given to him. His William Longsword succeeded him as the next ruler of Normandy.
King Charles the Simple