The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned most of the 11th and 12th centuries, involving many battles and independent conquerors. Only later were these territories in southern Italy united as the Kingdom of Sicily, which included the island of Sicily, the southern third of the Italian Peninsula , the archipelago of Malta and parts of North Africa.
Itinerant Norman knights arrived in the Mezzogiorno as mercenaries in the service of Lombard and Byzantine factions, communicating news swiftly back home about opportunities in the Mediterranean. These groups gathered in several places, establishing fiefdoms and states of their own, uniting and elevating their status to de facto independence within fifty years of their arrival.
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