Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France and their various allies for control of the French throne. It was the result of a dynastic disagreement dating back to William the Conqueror who became King of England in 1066, while remaining Duke of Normandy. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
As dukes of Normandy, the English kings owed homage to the King of France. In 1337 Edward III of England refused to pay homage to Philip VI of France, which resulted in the French king confiscating Edward's lands in Aquitaine.
Edward responded by declaring that he, not Philip, was the rightful king of France - a claim dating back to 1328 when Charles IV of France had died without a male heir. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
A claim for the succession had been made for Edward through the right of his mother Isabella, daughter of Philip IV. But it had been the son of Philip IV’s younger brother, Charles of Valois, who had been made king. The establishment of a legal succession to the French crown was central to the war and there were succeeding generations of English and French claimants. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
The war is commonly divided into three or four phases, separated by various unsuccessful truces: theEdwardian Era War (1337–1360), the Caroline War (1369–1389), and the Lancastrian War (1415–1453), which saw the slow decline of Plantagenet fortunes after the appearance of Joan of Arc (1412–1431). Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
Several other contemporary European conflicts were directly related to this conflict: theBreton War of Succession, the Castilian Civil War; the War of the Two Peters; and the 1383-1385 Crisis. The term "Hundred Years' War" was a later term invented by historians to describe the series of events.
The war owes its historical significance to a number of factors. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
Although primarily a dynastic conflict, the war gave impetus to ideas of both French and English nationalism. Militarily, it saw the introduction of new weapons and tactics which eroded the older system of feudal armies dominated by heavy cavalry in Western Europe. The first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of theWestern Roman Empire were introduced for the war,Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
thus changing the role of the peasantry. For all this, as well as for its long duration, it is often viewed as one of the most significant conflicts in the history of medieval warfare. In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines and maraudingmercenary armies turned to banditry reduced the population by about one-half. Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
The Anglo-Norman dynasty that had ruled England since the Norman Conquest of 1066, was brought to an end by an alliance betweenGeoffrey of Anjou and Robert of Gloucester, with Geoffrey's son Henry becoming the first of the Angevin kings of England in 1154 as King Henry II. The King of England, in what is now known as the Angevin Empire, Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
directly ruled more territory on the continent than did the King of France himself. A potential difficulty was that as dukes on the continent, the English kings owed homage to the King of France, however as the dukes had large amounts of autonomy from the 11th century onwards it was not really a problem in practice. Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
John of England inherited the Angevin domains from King Richard I. However, Philip II of France acted decisively to exploit the weaknesses of King John, both legally and militarily, and by 1204 had succeeded in wresting control of most of the ancient continental possessions. The subsequent Battle of Bouvines (1214), Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
along with the Saintonge War (1242) and finally the War of Saint-Sardos (1324), reduced England's holdings on the continent to a few small provinces in Gascony, and the complete loss of Normandy.
When Philip IV died in 1314, his eldest son Louis X inherited the throne. Louis X died in 1316, leaving a daughter (Joan II of Navarre) and a pregnant wife. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
The wife produced a son, John I, who died in infancy. Philip IV's second-eldest son, Philip, Count of Poitiers, sought the throne for himself to the exclusion of his niece (Louis X's daughter). This was opposed by several of the nobility, such as Odo IV, Duke of Burgundy (Joan II of Navarre's maternal uncle), Charles of Valois (Philip's uncle) and Charles, Count of La Marche (Philip's brother). Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
However, Philip was able to negotiate them into silence; Philip's uncle and brother may have realized that this would bring them closer to the throne, while the Duke of Burgundy married Philip's eldest daughter, Joan III, Countess of Burgundy. Up until that time, all fiefs in France passed by cognatic primogeniture, a system of inheritance whereby the oldest child inherited irrespective of gender. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
Philip had to provide justification why the French throne should pass in a different manner. For this, Philip exalted the throne of France to be equal to that of the Holy Roman Emperor and thePapacy — an office that could be entrusted to men only. The principle that a woman could not reign in France was confirmed when Philip himself died leaving only daughters, Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
and the next brother, Charles the Fair (Charles IV), succeeded unchallenged.
Charles IV died in 1328, also only leaving daughters; the nearest male in line to the throne was Edward III of England. The French nobility, however, balked at the prospect of being ruled by the king of England. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
Edward had inherited his right through his mother Isabella, the sister of the dead king; but the question arose of whether she should be able to transmit a right that she did not possess. An assembly of the French aristocracy decided the nearest heir through male ancestry was Charles IV's first cousin, Philip, Count of Valois, and that he should be crowned Philip VI. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
In the 11th century, Gascony had been incorporated into Aquitaine (also Guyenne or Guienne) and formed with it the province of Guyenne and Gascony (French: Guyenne-et-Gascogne). The English kings became dukes of Aquitaine; after Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152, the lands were held in vassalage to the French crown. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
By the 13th century the terms Aquitaine, Guyenne and Gascony were virtually synonymous. At the beginning of Edward III's reign, the only part of Aquitaine that remained in English hands was the duchy of Gascony. The term Gascony came to be used for the territory held by the English in south west France, although they still used the title Duke of Aquitaine. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
For the first 10 years of Edward III's reign, Gascony had been a major point of friction. The English argued that, as Charles IV had not acted in a proper way towards his tenant holding fealty towards him, then the English should be able to hold the duchy free of any French suzerainty. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
However, this line of argument could not be maintained by the English, so in 1329 Edward III paid homage to the new French king, Philip VI. Despite this concession the French continued to put pressure on the English administration in Gascony. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
Gascony was not the only factor behind the Hundred Years' War. One of Edward's influential advisers was Robert III of Artois. Robert was an exile from the French court, having fallen out with Philip VI over an inheritance claim. He urged Edward to start a war to reclaim the Kingdom of France and was able to provide extensive intelligence on the French court to the English. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
The kings of England had been trying to subjugate the Scots for some time. In 1295 there was a treaty between France and Scotland, during the reign of Philip the Fair. Charles IV formally renewed the treaty in 1326, undertaking that if England invaded Scotland then France would take steps to support Scotland. Similarly the Scots would support the French, in the event that England attacked France. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
Thus, Edward could not succeed in his plans for Scotland, while they could count on French support.
Philip VI had assembled a large naval fleet off Marseilles as part of an ambitious plan for a crusade to the Holy Land. However the plan was abandoned, and the fleet including elements of the Scottish navy moved to the English Channel off Normandy in 1336, threatening England. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
To deal with this crisis Edward proposed that the English raise two armies, one to deal with the Scots at a "suitable time", the other to proceed at once to Gascony. At the same time ambassadors were to be sent to France with a proposed treaty for the French king.
At the end of April 1337 Philip was invited to meet the delegation from England, but refused. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
The arrière-ban, literally a call to arms, was proclaimed throughout France starting on 30 April 1337. Then, in May 1337, Philip met with his Great Council in Paris. It was agreed that the duchy of Aquitaine, effectively Gascony, should be taken back into the King's hands on the grounds that Edward III was in breach of his obligations as vassal; Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
also that he had sheltered the Kings 'mortal enemy' Robert d'Artois, and other unspecified reasons. Edward responded to the confiscation of Aquitaine by challenging Philip’s right to the French throne. When Charles VI had died there had been a claim for the succession of the French throne by Edward, through the right of his mother Isabella (Charles IV’s sister), daughter of Philip IV. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
Any claim was seen to be invalidated by Edward's homage to Philip VI in 1329. However Edward now revived his claim, and in 1340 formally assumed the title 'King of France and the French Royal Arms'. On 26 January 1340, Edward III formally received homage from Guy, the half brother of the Count of Flanders. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery
The civic authorities of Ghent, Ypres and Bruges proclaimed Edward as King of France. Edward's purpose was to strengthen his alliances with the Low Countries. His supporters would be able to claim that they were loyal to the "true" king of France and not rebels against Philip. In February 1340, Edward returned to England to try and raise more funds and also deal with political difficulties. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery
Edward III had commanded that his Chancellor should sit on the woolsack in council as a symbol of the pre-eminence of the wool trade. At the time there was about 110,000 sheep in Sussex alone. The great medieval English monasteries produced large surpluses of wool, which were sold to Europe, Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery
and successive governments were able to make large amounts of money from taxation of the trade. France's sea power led to economic disruptions, with England having to cut down on the wool trade to Flanders and the wine trade from Gascony. Edward, with his fleet, sailed from England on 22 June 1340 and arrived, the next day, off the Zwyn estuary. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery
The French fleet could be seen in a defensive formation off the port of Sluys. The English fleet apparently tricked the French into believing they were withdrawing. However, when the wind turned in the late afternoon, the English fleet attacked with the wind and sun behind them. The French fleet was almost completely destroyed in what became known as the Battle of Sluys. Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery
After this, England was able to dominate the English Channel for the rest of the war, preventing French invasions. At this point, Edward's funds ran out and the war probably would have come to an end, were it not for the death of the Duke of Brittany precipitating a succession dispute between the Duke's half brotherJohn of Montfort and Charles of Blois, nephew of Philip VI. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery
In 1341, conflict over the succession to the Duchy of Brittany began the Breton War of Succession, in which Edward backed John of Montfort, and Philip backed Charles of Blois. Action for the next few years focussed around a back and forth struggle in Brittany, with the city of Vannes changing hands several times, as well as further campaigns in Gascony with mixed success for both sides. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery
In July 1346, Edward mounted a major invasion across the Channel, landing in the Cotentin. The English army captured Caen in just one day, surprising the French who had expected the city to hold out much longer. Philip gathered a large army to oppose Edward, who chose to march northward toward the Low Countries, pillaging as he went, rather than attempting to take and hold territory. Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery
Finding himself unable to outmanoeuvre Philip, Edward positioned his forces for battle, and Philip's army attacked. The Battle of Crécy was a complete disaster for the French, largely credited to the English longbowmen and the French king, who allowed his army to attack before they were ready. Philip appealed to his Scottish allies to help with a diversionary attack on England. Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery
King David II of Scotland responded by invading northern England, but he was captured and his army defeated at theBattle of Neville's Cross, on 17 October 1346. This greatly reduced the threat from Scotland. In France, Edward was able to proceed north unopposed and besieged the city of Calais on the English Channel, capturing it in 1347. Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery
This became an important strategic asset for the English. It allowed them to keep troops in France safely. Calais would remain under English control until the successful French siege in 1558.
In 1348, the Black Death began to ravage Europe. In 1356, after it had passed and England was able to recover financially, Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery
Edward's son and namesake, thePrince of Wales, known as the Black Prince, invaded France from Gascony, winning a great victory in the Battle of Poitiers. John II of France (known as John the Good) was captured on the field of battle and eventually taken to England. In his absence John's son the Dauphin (later to become Charles V of France) took over as regent. Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery
After the Battle of Poiters, chaos ruled in town and country, many of the French nobles and mercenaries went on the rampage. A contemporary report said:
all went ill with the kingdom and the State was undone. Thieves and robbers rose up everywhere in the land. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery
The Nobles despised and hated all others and took no thought for usefulness and profit of lord and men. They subjected and despoiled the peasants and the men of the villages. In no wise did they defend their country from it's enemies; rather did they trample it underfoot, robbing and pillaging the peasants' goods..." Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery
Then, in 1358, according to the French medieval chronicler Jean Froissart, as there was no leadership in the countryside, people revolted against the French nobility, who they accused of shaming the realm. The revolt became known as the Jacquerie.
Edward invaded France, for the third and last time, hoping to capitalise on the discontent and seize the throne. Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery
The Dauphin's strategy was that of non-engagement with the English army in the field. However Edward wanted to be crowned King of France, and chose the cathedral city of Reims as the place of his coronation (Reims being traditionally where the Kings of France were crowned). However, the citizens of Reims were able to build and reinforce the defences of the city before Edward and his army arrived.Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
Edward besieged the city for five weeks, the defences held out and there was no coronation. Edward moved on to Paris, but retreated after a few skirmishes in the suburbs. The French made contact with him and forced him to negotiate.Edward III, of England and John II, of France, negotiated the Treaty of Brétigny which was signed in 1360. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
The treaty gave Edward enlarged sovereignty over Aquitaine, in return for abandoning his claim to the throne of France.
John II had been held captive in England, the Treaty of Brétigny set his ransom at 3 million crowns. John's son Louis of Anjou stood in as a replacement hostage at English held Calais, while John returned to France to try and raise funds to pay off the ransom. Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery
When Louis escaped in 1362 John gave himself up and returned to captivity in England.
The French crown had been at odds with Navarre since 1354 and in 1363 the Navaresse used John II's captivity in London and the political weakness of the dauphine to try and seize power. Although there was no formal treaty in place, Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery
Edward III supported the Navaresse moves particularly as there was a prospect that he might get control over the northern and western provinces as a consequence. With this in mind Edward deliberately slowed the peace negotiations. In 1364 John II died in London, while still in honorable captivity. Charles V succeeded him as king of France. Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery
On 6 May 1364, one month after the dauphine's accession and three days before his coronation as Charles V, the Navaresse suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Cocherel.
The Treaty of Brétigny had made Edward renounce his claim to the French crown. At the same time, it greatly expanded his territory in Aquitaine and confirmed his conquest of Calais. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
The ratified version, the Treaty of Calais, had one small difference: the exchange of renunciations would happen after the territorial exchanges, not immediately, as had been stated in the Treaty of Brétigny.
In 1366 there was a civil war of succession in Castile the ruler, Peter of Castile's forces, was pitched against those of his half brother Henry of Trastámara. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
The English crown supported Peter and the French Henry. The French forces were led by Bertrand du Guesclin, a Breton, who rose from relatively humble beginnings to prominence as one of France's war leaders. Charles V provided a force of 12,000, with du Guesclin at their head, to support Trastámara in his invasion of Castile.[ Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
Peter appealed to the Black Prince, for help, but none was forthcoming so Peter had to escape to exile in Aquitaine. The Black Prince had previously agreed that he would support Peter's claims but being concerned about the terms of the treaty of Brétigny he assisted Peter as a representative of Aquitaine, not England and led an Anglo-Gascon army into Castille. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery
Peter was restored to power after Henry du Trastámara's army was defeated at the Battle of Najera.
Although the Castilians had agreed to fund the Black Prince for his help, none was forthcoming, the prince was also was suffering from ill health so returned with his army to Aquitaine. Then to pay off the debts incurred during the campaign in Castille, the prince instituted a hearth tax in Aquitaine. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery
Arnaud-Amaniieu VIII, lord of Albret had fought on the Black Prince's side during the war. Albret, who already had become discontented by the influx of English administrators into the enlarged Aquitaine, refused to allow the tax to be collected in his lordship. He then joined a group of Gascon lords who appealed to Charles V for support in their refusal to pay the tax. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery
Charles V summoned one Gascon lord and also the Black Prince to hear the case in his Parlement in Paris. The Black Prince's answer was that he would go to Paris with sixty thousand men behind him. War broke out again, and Edward III resumed the title of King of France. Charles V declared that all the English possessions in France were forfeited, and before the end of 1369 all Aquitaine was in full revolt. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery
With the Black Prince gone from Castille, Henry du Trastámara led a second invasion that ended with Peter's death at theBattle of Montiel in March 1369. The new Castilian regime then went on to provide naval support to French campaigns against Aquitaine and England.
With his health continuing to deteriorate the Black Prince returned home to England in January 1371,Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery
where by now his father Edward III was elderly and also in poor health. The prince's illness was debilitating and limited what he could do. He died on the 8 June 1376. Edward III only just outlived his son and died the following year 21 June 1377; he was succeeded by the Black Prince's second son Richard II who was still a child. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery
The treaty at Brétigny had seen Edward III and England with enlarged holdings in France, however a small professional French army under the leadership of du Guesclin pushed the English back and by the time of Charles V's death in 1380, the English only held Calais. Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery
It was usual to appoint a regent in the case of a child monarch, but no regent was appointed for Richard II who nominally exercised all the power of kingship from the date of his accession in 1377. However, between 1377 and 1380 Richard's government was in the hands of a series of councils. The political community preferred this to a regency led by the king's uncle, John of Gaunt, yet Gaunt remained highly influential. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery
Richard had to face many challenges during his reign including the Peasants' Revolt led by Wat Tyler in 1381, an Anglo-Scottish war in 1384-1385, then a group of noblemen known as the Lords Appellant took over government between 1387 and 1389. His attempts to raise taxes to pay for his Scottish adventure and also the cost for the protection of Calais against the French made him increasingly unpopular. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery
In 1399, after John of Gaunt died, Richard II disinherited Gaunt's son, Henry of Bolingbroke, who had previously been exiled. Bolingbroke returned to England in June 1399 and with his supporters managed to depose Richard; he then had himself crowned Henry IV. One of the causes of Richard's unpopularity had been his reluctance to continue the war in France. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery
Henry was aware of this, and planned to resume hostilities. However this did not happen, as he was plagued with financial problems, declining health and was kept busy putting down rebellions.
In Scotland, the change in regime in England prompted a fresh series of border raids which were countered by an invasion in 1402 and the defeat of a Scottish army at the Battle of Homildon Hill.[ Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery
A dispute over the spoils of this action between Henry and Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland resulted in a long and bloody struggle between the two for control of northern England, which was resolved only with the almost complete destruction of the Percy family by 1408. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery
In Wales, Owain Glyndŵr was declared prince of Wales on 16 September 1400, he was acknowledged as the leader of the most serious and widespread rebellion against English authority in Wales since the conquest of 1282–3. The rebellion was not finally put down until 1415 and actually resulted in Welsh semi-independence for a number of years. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery
In the meantime Charles VI of France was descending into madness, and an open conflict for power began between his cousin John the Fearless, and his brother,Louis of Orléans. After Louis's assassination, the Armagnac family took political power in opposition to John. By 1410, both sides were bidding for the help of English forces in a civil war. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery
Throughout this period, England was also faced with repeated raids by pirates, which heavily damaged trade and the navy. There is some evidence that Henry IV used state-legalised piracy as a form of warfare in the English channel. He used these privateering campaigns to put pressure on enemies without the risk of open war. Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery
The French responded in kind and French pirates operating under Scottish protection, raided many English coastal towns.
The domestic and dynastic difficulties faced by England and France in this period quieted the war for a decade. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery