NORMANDY: AT A GLANCE
Normandy is a geographical region of France, corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy, and forms c.5% of the whole of France. It used to be divided into two regions, Lower Normandy (made up of the departments of Orne, Calvados, and Manche) and Upper Normandy (made up of the departments of Seine-Maritime and Eure), but these were joined as one on 1 January 2016.
Lower Normandy is predominantly agricultural in character, while Upper Normandy has a higher concentration of industry. The region is known for its cider production and calvados, (the distilled cider or apple brandy) and Camembert. The Seine has long been used for the transportation of goods to and from the heart of the continent, and so has been central to the history and economic development of Northern France for millennia.
Celtic tribes first settled in the Seine Valley in the 1st century BCE and when Julius Caesar invaded Gaul there were nine different Celtic tribes living in Normandy.
Between the third and seventh centuries, the Seine Valley saw a stream of invaders, and was occupied in turn by Vandals, Visigoths and Huns.
The Duchy of Normandy was created for the Viking leader Hrólfr Ragnvaldsson, or Rollo (also known as Robert of Normandy). Rollo had besieged Paris but in 911 became a vassal to Charles the Simple, king of West Francia, through the Treaty of Saint-Clairsur-Epte. Charles had ceded Rollo lands between the mouth of the Seine and what is now the city of Rouen in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his pillaging and provide protection against future Viking raids. The name Normandy reflects Rollo's Viking (i.e. Norseman or Northmen) origins.
Rollo's descendant, William, became King of England in 1066 after the battle of Hastings, while still retaining the duchy of Normandy. However, in 1259, Henry III of England recognised the legality of French possession of mainland Normandy under the Treaty of Paris. His successors, however, often fought to regain control of their