In 742 on a cold, blistering winter day, King Pepin III (Pepin the Short) was expecting a child. The child was named Carolus Magnus, also known as Charlemagne. Charlemagne didn’t receive proper education as a child. His childhood was overtaken by the laborious task of the activities of preparing himself to control his father’s lands.
King Pepin divided his lands between his two sons minutes before his death. The lands running westward from the River Saal to the North Sea were allotted to Charlemagne. As soon as Charlemagne was given his lands he immediately began to add on to it through war.
His first conquest was the defeat of the Lombard kingdom in northern Italy. It took just one year to become the ruler of Lombard. After that, Charlemagne moved onto the Saxons in Germany and by 777 he defeated the tribe in several battles and converted many of them to Christianity. Charlemagne almost became a mercenary, working with Arabs from Spain to overcome a ruler in southern Spain. In 800, on Christmas Day, Pope Leo III crowned Carolus Magnus emperor. The emperor ruled a large part of Europe, having increased his lands by about three times the original size of the Holy Roman Empire.
During the year 813, his health had declined greatly so he delegated his power to his son Louis (the Pious). Carolus Magnus died less than a year later. During the year 843 the Treaty of Verdun divided his empire into three kingdoms, one for each of his grandsons. All of his grandsons shared the title of emperor. The lands given to Louis II, one of his grandsons, became permanently, separated from the French parts of Carolus’s empire.
Charlemagne had loyal subjects because he had lived a very successful life. Charlemagne’s life of greatness started in 742. He was a very protective ruler over his people and he added a lot of land to the Franks kingdom.
Editor’s note: When Charlemagne died on Jan. 28, 814 at age 72, the inscription on his tomb read, “Beneath this stone lies the body of Charles the Great, the Christian Emperor ….”
Allison Firquin is a sixth-grader at LaRue County Middle School and the daughter of Allen and Beth Firquin and Thomas McGonigle. She is involved softball, Beta Club, Academic Team, band and College Heights United Methodist Church. Her career ambition is to be a corporate or commercial lawyer. Firquin composed this feature article for her social studies class. Students were able to choose any topic they had studied.