Charles Martel (c. 688 – 22 October 741) was a Frankish statesman and military leader who, as Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, was the de facto ruler of Francia from 718 until his death. He was a son of the Frankish statesman Pepin of Herstal and Pepin’s mistress, a noblewoman named Alpaida. Charles, also known as “The Hammer”, successfully asserted his claims to power as successor to his father as the power behind the throne in Frankish politics. Continuing and building on his father’s work, he restored centralized government in Francia and began the series of military campaigns that re-established the Franks as the undisputed masters of all Gaul. According to a near-contemporary source, the Liber Historiae Francorum, Charles was “a warrior who was uncommonly […] effective in battle”.
Most notably, Martel decisively defeated an Umayyad invasion of Aquitaine at the Battle of Tours. Alongside his military endeavours, Charles has been traditionally credited with a seminal role in the development of the Frankish system of feudalism.
At the end of his reign, Charles divided Francia between his sons, Carloman and Pepin. The latter became the first king of the Carolingian dynasty. Charles’ grandson, Charlemagne, extended the Frankish realms, and became the first emperor in the West since the fall of Rome