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After Charlemagne died, invaders including the vikings began to nibble at the edges of his empire.
They failed to address the problem caused by the division of the state among the king's heirs according to the traditional inheritance practice of gavelkind. It was only luck that had kept the Frankish realm in the hands of a single ruler from 751 to about 830.
Couldn't support a navy anymore so the remnants of the empire were easy pickings for sea-borne raiders from Scandinavia (the Vikings and from North Africa (the Saracens), as well as mounted raiders from central Asia, the Magyars, or Hungarians. The rulers descended from Charlemagne were unable to defend Europe from these raiders, and it fell to local powers.
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