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In 476 the Western Roman Empire collapsed. Gaul was gradually conquered by Clovis, leader of the Franks (481 - 511). He gradually converted most of Gaul to Christianity.

At his death in 511 the kingdom was divided between his sons (a Frankish custom). These kings form the Merovingien dynasty (name of Clovis's grandfather). Clovis's descendants ruled until 751 when the dynasty was replaced by the Carolingian dynasty.


Clovis's descendants

Charlemagne (768 - 814) was the most powerful of the Carolingians. In 800 he was crowned emperor by the pope. We will find out more about him later. However, after Charlemagne's death his empire was quickly destroyed. In 843 the kingdom was divided into three at the Treaty of Verdun. Charles the Bald kept Western France, Lothaire kept the title of emperor and the middle part of the kingdom, and Louis the German kept what is now known today as Germany.

After this period there were new invasions: in the north from the Vikings (from Denmark and Norway), in the south from the Muslims and in the east from the Hungarians. By 900 western Europe was impoverished.



Note: Make sure you learn the dates and the names in blue.


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