- The Hundred Years’ War was a long fight between the kings and kingdoms of France and England. It lasted from 1337 to 1453.
- The war began because of the status of a French duchy that the English kings wanted to be independent.
- The war also began because the Kings of England claimed the crown of France because they were related to Charles IV, who had died.
The Hundred Years’ War is not 100 years long. This might be called more precisely the “116 Years’ War.” Keep reading to learn more about Hundred Years’ War.
This war was just one round in a much longer conflict between England and France, which may have continued from the Norman Conquest of 1066 until the 1904 Entente Cordiale.
What caused the Hundred Years’ War
The English monarchs’ overseas possessions caused conflicts with the kings of France. The Hundred Years’ War began in 1337 when King Philip of France took the duchy from Edward III. Edward responded by challenging Philip’s right to the throne.
The French kings should have had more power than the English king. They should have been more powerful because they had more money and people.
Nevertheless, the English army was very good. The French were not as good because they lost to the English army.
The French lost because the English army was well disciplined and used their longbows to stop cavalry charges.
These possessions on the other side of the English Channel made the kings of England very powerful. The French and the English fought a lot because of this. The Hundred Years War came about because of these clashes.
Hundred Years’ War: The English Kings and their French Territories
How did the English acquire so much French territory? Henry Plantagenet became a Duke in Normandy and Anjou. He also became a Duke in Aquitaine because of his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Eleanor had divorced her husband, King Louis VII of France. Then she married Henry. Henry became later King Henry II of England. He was a mighty man.
The next king of England was King John. He lost Normandy and Anjou to France.
The next king, Henry III, renounced his claim to those lands in the Treaty of Paris. Henry III still owned Gascony, and it was like a French duchy.
The English king’s rights to this land were always a source of fuss and fighting, and wars broke out again.
Hundred Years’ War fact about Edward III
The Scots were on the side of France against England. David Bruce was supported by the French when Edward III, king of England, tried to intervene in Scotland.
Edward III became angry at the French. Edward said that Philip did not have the right to be King of France because he had inherited the crown from a woman and not directly from a man.
Edward III called himself the king of France because he could inherit the throne from a man.
English king Edward used his claim to the French throne to make alliances with people in France.
Edward was able to make some areas of France ungovernable from the King in Paris. These expeditions were hard to predict. They would happen at random and be very big.
The idea was to damage the French economy and make people dislike France by burning their crops and buildings.
Edward wanted to fight the French army if he could do so in a way that would be good. He guessed that if he won, then the French army would want to talk.
Edward III won at Crécy in France. The siege of Calais, a French port, was also a success. This made England have a key port on the coast of France.
The Black Prince (Edward IV)
Edward IV was his eldest son who became king after Edward III died. He was the ‘Black Prince’ because he wore black armour and had a black shield.
The Black Prince won the battle of Poitiers in France. John of France, Philip’s successor to the throne, was captured here.
It was chaotic in France because there was no successor for the king. Many poor people were angry and tried to rise against the government. This happened in the same year when many soldiers went on a rampage, doing bad things.
The English could not win against the city of Rheims nor the capital Paris. The expedition to get rid of the French king ended up starting negotiations with Charles, the dauphin (or the person to inherit the throne).
The treaty said that France should pay three million crowns to the English. France would also give Edward a bigger area of France called Aquitaine.
In return, Edward would give up his claim to the French throne. Edward stopped being King of France for nine years.
The peace treaty broke down because France and England were on opposite sides of the conflict inside Spain.
The French came up with a new king, Charles V. The English lost the French lands under him because he had a great general, Bertrand du Guesclin.
Fighting was not good for over two decades. There were only short periods of peace in between warfare.
Under English King Richard II, there were serious efforts to find peace. Things changed when Richard II was deposed.
Then there was an English invasion. Henry V bravely led it.
Henry V crossed the English Channel to Normandy with a group of soldiers. They took Harfieur and marched through France, defeating the French army at Agincourt in a famous battle.
Henry V had fewer than 7,000 men at Agincourt. Forces were raised with people who signed up and leaders who helped make it happen.
Archers and soldiers usually fought on horses. They got off the horse when they were fighting. Soldiers used a sword and a lance, while archers had longbows.
The French battle casualties were terrible. The Dukes of Orléans and Bourbon were taken, prisoners.
Henry negotiated an agreement with Charles VI to marry Charles’s daughter Catherine and be recognised as his heir to the French throne.
In the north of France, these terms were accepted. But they were not accepted in the south of France.
When Henry V died, the nine-month-old King of England, the son of Henry and Catherine, was recognized as king of France in Paris.
But in the south, people who supported the dauphin Charles upheld his succession.
Joan of Arc
France was ruled by Henry VI’s uncle, John Bedford. He was against his nephew ruling France.
His first English target is Orléans. It’s a bridgehead on the Loire River, south of Paris.
Joan of Arc came to the French court at Chinon with her story that she had been given a mission by voices that God had sent her.
Joan of Arc led the French army to victory in Orléans. She was only 18 years old.
Joan was captured a year later after being tortured by the English and their French collaborators. Joan became a Catholic martyr.
The English managed to take back some towns they had lost. The English were able to keep them for a while.
The king of England and a princess from France wanted to get married. They hoped that this would help end their fighting.
Then the English attacked and took Fougères. King Charles VII said the terms of the truce no longer bound him because he had time to reorganise his army.
The English military commander John Talbot came to France with soldiers from England. He took back Bordeaux.
The Hundred Years’ War ended in 1453. The English then lost the last of their territories in France. This happened after the defeat of John Talbot’s army at Castillon.
Talbot’s army was defeated at Castillon. Talbot himself was killed.
After a while, the land was back for the French, and nothing was left. The war was over even though it wasn’t official yet.
The English were very sad when they lost their big empire. The War of the Roses caused widespread anger against English commanders.
The recovery of the lost lands in France was often just a wishful thought. The consequences for Englishmen living in England were not very bad.
The people who suffered from the loss were soldiers and Englishmen who settled in France.
In the War Period, Parliament’s importance and frequency increased. This then led to a central constitutional role in the future.
The church helped the war effort. They encouraged everyone to be patriotic and show their love for England.
People prayed for armies fighting overseas. King Edward III promoted St George as England’s warrior saint to play to their national sentiment.
A lot of English people are afraid of France. This has been happening since the 15th century, and it still does. But in the 20th century, German people replaced French people as England’s natural enemies in the public eye.
Read about the Wars of the Roses
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