The Lombards were finally conquered by an army of Franks led by a descendant of Clovis named Pepin the Short, son of Charles Martel. He claimed all the lands of Ravenna for the Papacy, and was crowned as King of Franks by Pope Gregory in 751. After his death in 768 King Pepin was succeeded by his sons, Charles I. He was an ardent Christian, married to the daughter of the Lombard King, Desiderius. In 771, when Desiderius threatened to conquer Rome with his Lombard warriors, Pope Adrian I appealed to Charles for support. He led his Frank army into Lombardy and defeated his father-in-law in battle. This gave him titles over both Gaul and Lombardy, with strong ties to the Pope. He soon became known as Charles the Great, or Charlemagne.
He next set out to conquer all the Celtic tribes to the north and east of Gaul for Christianity, and thus secure the borders of his Empire. Charlemagne battled the Saxons for many years, along with the Avars, a Tartar tribe that had settled on the Danube. As his enemies were subdued, Charlemagne created marches or marks along the new frontiers of his Empire. Those left to rule these provinces were given the title Marquises.
Austria was the East Mark, and the northern province was called Dane Mark. Eventually his rule extended over most of Europe as the Druids were forced to accept the Christian faith. On Christmas Day in the year 800 he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III. With this gesture a Celtic king became the sovereign leader of the Roman Empire. A millennium of warfare had been resolved by the ascension of Charlemagne.
The leadership of the Frank Emperor was just and fair to all the Celtic tribes that had been subdued. Commissioners were dispatched throughout the Empire to insure that taxes were paid, laws were observed and justice was served for everyone. The finest scholars of his time were brought to his castle at Aix-la-Chapelle near Cologne, and a school was established at Aachen to preserve many of the Latin classical writings for the western world.
Two years after the coronation of Charlemagne, the Saxon king of Wessex returned from an exile in the court of the new Emperor to unite all the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms as their overlord, King Egbert. Near the end of his reign, in the late 830s, a northern tribe of Celts invaded from Dane-Mark, gaining control of northern and eastern Angleland. Alfred the Great, grandson of Egbert, gathered an army of Anglo-Saxon warriors in 878 and forced the Danes to accept Christianity and remain in an area to the northeast which later became known as Danelaw. By 1016 the Danes established their own conquest of the island with the coronation of Canute as King of England.
With the death of Canute, the throne of England was passed to a descendant of Alfred the Great, named Edward the Confessor, a very pious but ineffective leader. When he died childless, the Anglo-Saxon Council of Advisors (the Witenagemot) elected Harold, Earl of Essex, to succeed the throne. William, Duke of Normandy, was a cousin of King Edward laid claim to the throne and crossed the Channel with an army or Normans, Bretons, Flemish and assorted mercenary warriors and the approval of the Pope. In 1066 he defeated the English army at the Battle of Hastings and was acknowledged as the rightful king by the Wtienagemot. He was crowned King of England on Christmas Day, 1066 at Westminster Abbey. Under his wisdom, all the nobility of England were granted fair portions of land which were recorded and collected in the Domesday Book. Thus all the noble families of all the tribes became his vassels in such a way that no one could challenge his authority. In 1086 he conducted the first census of England.