The Frankish Empire
In 771 A.D., Pepin the Short was succeeded as king by his son Charlemagne. Charlemagne was a tall, friendly ruler, and was also a skillful politician. Under his leadership, the kingdom controlled by the Franks doubled in size, growing to include France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
This kingdom became known as the Frankish Empire. For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire, all the people of Western Europe were ruled over by a single government and by a single leader.
Charlemagne Encouraged Learning
Following his taking control of the Frankish government, Charlemagne grew concerned about the great number of his people who could not read or write. He sought to improve the situation by opening schools around his kingdom.
Charlemagne also gathered together the brightest scholars of his era and had them work to preserve ancient texts and records. These scholars copied the writings of the Romans and others, preserving them for future generations.