Today is a post about the Hundred Years War, and I hope you enjoy!
Since 1066 AD (the Battle of Hastings) the French and English were always butting heads about who had the right or claim to who should/could rule France. And in 1337 things really started getting heated up… Edward the III of England would not give homage to a king or throne that, he thought, rightfully belonged to him. Unfortunately, because of an ancient law code, he could not become king, and if meant he had to literally force the current king out of the throne chair, so be it.
The three parts to this war are: The Edwardian Era (1337-1360)
The Caroline War (1369-1389)
The Lancastrian Era (1415-1453)
Also… Four major battles that make this war are:
- Battle of Sluys – 1340 and was the battle of the Hundred Years War
- Battle of Crecy – 1346
- – Black Death happened in between the Hundred Years War and they took a break when it happened.
- Battle of Poitiers – 1356
- and the Battle of Agincourt – 1415
Now, back to Edward… He figured if he wanted to take the crown, now is as good a time as any so he took his fleet of ships and went to break the French lines along the English Channel. But what really helped Edward and the English was their attack position. Because the sun was on the English’s backs, it shone right into the eyes of the French, and the wind was blowing right into the English’s sails so the English just smashed right through the French lines and the English sailed to victory.
Philip, the current French King at the time, was not happy about the English breaking his lines on the Channel but six years later Edward III of England attacked Crecy but Philip was there to greet him. Even still with the king and his reinforcements there, the English still conquered the French. Also, in an attack following the Battle of Crecy, Edward attacked and captured the French city of Calais (pronounced: kalay).
Edward the III had a son also named Edward but he had gained the title the Black Prince and Edward III put him in charge of the next big battle in 1356 called the Battle of Poitiers, where they invaded through Gascony, and won a glorious victory! But if you remember I mentioned that the Black Death started/happened in (1348) between the Hundred Years War and wiped out thousands of people, and I am not sure how but Philip, King of France, died during the middle of it all, war and plague. After the plague, a new king was crowned King of France his name was John II, and he also had a son called the Dauphin he was basically an heir but with a different name, his true name was Charles V. Well, during the war John was captured and was put under English control, and what a terrible time to be captured because the first peace was in action, the Treaty of Bretigny. This peace lasted nine years and halfway through, John II died. This news reached Charles V (John II’s son) and he was crowned king. Back in England…Edward III and Edward the Black Prince were now in bad health and at the time of their last attack they only controlled Calais in France. They turned the kingship over to Edward the Black Prince’s son, Richard II who, when crowned king, was only ten years old at the time! Richard did not want the war to continue with the French, so he declared a new peace which lasted around 26 years. From 1389 to 1415 there was peace, but in 1399 Richard was forced to abdicate the throne to his cousin, Henry IV who ruled with not much support for thirteen years, and had the throne taken from him to his son Henry V. Once Henry had the crown on his head he started the war right back up again! He sailed to France and had one victory at Harfleur and decided instead to go back to Calais instead of pressing onward, but the journey back to Calais took quite sometime and the French Army was able to intercept them at the Battle of Agincourt…
This battle, one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years War, took place in a muddy field between two forests, and the lighter, smaller army of the English was a big advantge on that field because the French were on big horses and had big, heavy armor on them so they got weighed down a lot easier and faster than that of the English. The English also had longbows and could take out many Frenchmen before they even got close to hitting the English. So the English had the upper hand, also the number of the casualties were very greatly offset on each side.
Frenchmen killed: 6,000
Englishmen killed: 400
After this gruesome battle, Henry V went on to retake lots of land they had lost previously and he became the Duke of Normandy. About five years later Henry married the princess of France and her name was Catherine. The Treaty of Troyes ended the war thus far and also promised that Henry’s heir/heirs would inherit the French throne. Fortunately, he had a son! Unfortunately, he died before his son was old enough to claim the throne and the Duke of Bedford was appointed to look over the kingdom and the war while Henry’s son grew to be old enough to accept the crown. The Duke did a good job and won some battles but the Treaty, which had promised to end the war was not working out right…
Now for the interesting part!
A French peasent girl at the age of twelve or so had these visions from three saints and they were telling her some personal things but they then started telling her to see the King of France and help him retake their land. So when she was a little bit older she sought a conference with the king. She tried three times to get in and see him and finally as she walks in to speak to him she addresses herself saying: “Gracious King, my name is Joan. God has sent me to deliver France from her enemies.” This is a bit of the story of Joan of Arc.
After she had this and a little bit more, the king (Charles VII) was a little shocked to see that she was serious, and he was still a little leary so he tested her orthodoxy and religion and she was able to almost perfectly describe a prayer the king had offered earlier alone! She was allowed to lead the army in her own suit of armor and many people joined the army knowing that a saint was leading it. But she didn’t just lead the army she reformed it, by having every solider go to the church and pray or confess and to stop swearing or other things not liked by the church. Her “big break” came when she attacked an English held church with her army because that victory was the turning point for her and the war.
Many more people joined and supported Joan and her army, also she made the road clear to Reims for Charles VII of France to really be crowned King of France! As the coronation progressed Joan could not refrain from crying with joy about how the Lord’s will had been done. Joan continued to help the French army and repel the English but she was captured and was tried in England for heresy for four months until, on May 30th 1430 she was burned at the stake. Even though Joan died a hero for France around 700 years ago, her story is told far and wide today.
The war didn’t really end till about 25 years after Joan had been killed and I am really sure England and France have put aside their differences and come to terms about this Hundred Years War.
Thanks to my teacher, Mr. Fish for the great lessons you make!