This is the essay for the 15th week of the 7th Grade Ron Paul Curriculum. It’s about The Hundred Years War.
The Hundred Years War
In this blog post, I shall be summarizing all the events that happened during the Hundred Years War.
The Hundred Years War was an important war in the history of England and France. The war lasted from 1337-1453, but England and France weren’t fighting all the time during the war. The war lasted 116 years in total but without the times of peace, it only lasted 81 years. The war has been split into 3 different time periods and they all lasted different amounts of time. The first time period was the Edwardian Era. Which lasted from 1337 to 1360. The second period was the Caroline War, which lasted from 1369 to 1389. Lastly the third period was from 1415 to 1453 which, is known as the Lancastrian Era.
During the war, the way countries fought wars changed. Before the war countries preferred using heavy cavalry soldiers for warfare but during the war, it changed and countries started using light cavalry for transportation. Countries stopped using horses for warfare, instead using them for transportation. The lighter cavalry was called the Hobelar in England. The riders of these Hobelars started fighting on the ground.
The war started brewing in 1328 when Charles V of France died without an heir. Then the king of England, Edward III thought he should be the king because he was closest to the throne through his mother. But a Frenchman Philipp won the throne instead due to a law in France prohibiting kings coming from the mother’s side. In 1337 the war was at a boiling point. In 1066 William the Conqueror, also the Duke of Normandy, invaded and took over England. Because Normandy was a vassal of France, England was also a vassal of France. So in 1337, Edward refused to accept France as a vassal France. Due to this the Council of Paris decided that a part of England, the Duchy of Gascony should be returned to France, because of Edward III bad behavior against the French. The Duchy of Gascony is geographically in France but is owned by England.
All of this caused tensions between France and England to rise, but it wasn’t enough to start a war. The last straw was that Robert III of Artois was being helped by England. Robert III wanted to become king of Artois but because of confusing heir’s he wasn’t allowed to. In 1331 he created a forgery where his father said that he should be the heir to the throne, but the French found out it was a forgery and exiled Robert. He fled to Brabant but due to him fleeing there he almost caused war against the French. So Robert fled to England and he was accepted by Edward III to help him. At one point Robert suggested Edward III should declare war on France and this is exactly what he did.
The First Battle of the Hundred Years War was the Battle of Sluys, which took place on June 22nd, 1340 in the English Channel. The English were sailing across the English channel to France, when they met the French fleet and started the Battle of Sluys. During the Battle of Sluys, the French were completely destroyed and they lost their entire fleet. The rest of the war took place on French territory.
When the English arrived in France in 1346, they captured the city of Caen in one day. The king of France, Philipp wasn’t having it and started marching towards the English army. When they met they started the Battle of Crecy. This was also won by the English and the French were crushed again. After the Battle, the English captured Calais an important French harbor city. This was important to the English because they could now transport troops safely from England to France and keep their current troops in France.
During this time in 1348, the Black Death swept across Europe suspending the War for several years. When the war started both countries had new leaders. The English king Edward III died and he was replaced with his son Edward the Black Prince. France’s new king was John II. Edward, the Black Prince reignited the war in 1356 when the Black Death was gone. Instead of invading France from the North, Edward invaded France from Gascony, which is in the south-west region of France. After he invaded he won the Battle of Poitiers. In the Battle of Poitiers John was captured by the English troops. His son Charles V, became the regent in his place. Charles is also known as the “Dauphin” because he owned the province of “Dauphine”. A regent is a person controlling the country when the actual king is captured or not possible to reign the land.
The Dauphin wasn’t the best leader and after the Battle of Poitiers France fell into chaos. During this time of chaos, French nobles ravaged the land. Nobody tried to defend France either and the French lost a lot of land to the English. In 1357 Charles of Navarre disputed Dauphins authority of the French throne. Due to the Dauphins lack of military, he was forced to meet Charles of Navarre’s demands. Just four days before this incident both of Charles generals were murdered by the angry peasant uprising on February 22nd. This peasant uprising is known as the Jacquerie. Meanwhile, Edward the Black Prince was able to march across France and hoping to capture the French city of Reims, where the French coronated their kings. Edward wanted to capture Reims so he could coronate himself the king of France, but the French fought hard and kept Reims. After the Battle, the French forced Edward into a peace treaty. The peace treaty of Bretigny, which is the treaty’s name it ended the Edwardian Era. This peace lasted from 1360-1369. Even during this time of peace, John II the king of France was still kept captive by the English. He died during his captivity in 1364. Only when John II died could the “Dauphin become king.”
The peace ended when the French province of Gascony disagreed about the taxes in France. Soon after Gascony revolted against the French. Because of this, the Dauphin decided to call a meeting in Paris to discuss this with the English king and the lord of Gascony. Only the king of the English, Edward the Black Prince wanted to bring 60,000 troops with him. This the Dauphin didn’t allow and the second part of the war started. But due to the failing health of Edward the Black Prince and his father, Edward III, when they started fighting the French had taken back everything, except Calais. Even when the English were fighting the French they couldn’t do much to stop the French from advancing. When the Dauphin died both of England kings were already dead, so both countries needed new kings to further the war. The new English king was Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince, but because his father died early Richard was only a small child when he became king. During Richard’s reign, England lost even more French lands due to his young age. This was also caused by revolts inside England. But the English also dealt with a war with the Scottish in 1384-1385. During all this time the English still kept Calais. So Richard wanted to raise taxes so he could protect Calais better or maybe even advance into France, but it didn’t work since this was unpopular with the common folk. Due to all of this, a peace was signed in 1389 which lasted until 1415.
In 1415, the new English king Henry V decided that he should resume the war and he started sailing to France. Henry V arrived at France and started marching and capturing territory again. He met the French at the Battle of Harfleur and Henry won. After this victory, Henry thought he had enough and he and the English army started marching back to Calais. But once again the French didn’t allow this and they confronted the English in the small, muddy field of Agincourt. But the Battle turned out horrible for the French troops because with their heavy armor they could barely move in the mud. While the English could move relatively quickly in the mud due to their light armor. The English Archers were shooting down the French troops long before they even got close to the English. Due to this tactic, the English were able to win the Battle of Agincourt with heavy losses on the French side. When the Battle was over 6,000 French had died to only 400 English.
After the Battle of Agincourt, the English took back a lot of French lands that the English had lost during Richard II reign, including Normandy. This meant Henry could become the Duke of Normandy again after two centuries of having a French duke. In 1420 Henry tried to make peace with the French king, Charles VI by marrying his daughter Catherine. By doing this both kings agreed to the Treaty of Troyes. The Treaty of Troyes agreed that they would end the third phase of the war and Henry’s heirs would be allowed to become the king of France. But this didn’t work out so well and only two years later Henry grew ill and died. By this time in 1422, Henry’s son was an infant so he couldn’t claim both thrones. That’s why the Duke of Bedford was appointed to make sure that Henry’s son would be able to become king. But then the French claimed that because Henry’s son couldn’t become king, that the war would continue. So the Duke of Bedford was also able to control England for the time being and fight against the French. The Duke won several Battles for the English and captured quite a bit of French land.
Before Joan of Arc helped the French in the Hundred Years War, the French kept losing land to the English, although sometimes regaining a lot of their land, to lose it later. Neither the French or the English were making any progress and both countries had already been fighting for almost a 100 years. This all changed when Joan of Arc appeared on the side of the French. Joan of Arc was born in 1412 in Domremy-la-Pucelle, France. When Joan was 12 she started having saints calling her to fight for France. At one point Joan even saw some of the saints. At first the saints were saying personal things, but later the saints were saying more broad things. So at the end, the saints told her to help the current king of France, Charles VII regain the throne. At the age of 16 she first tried to reach Charles VII. It took her 3 tries to be able to talk with him. She told the king she would help him regain France. To test her loyalty to France several priests tested her faith to Catholicism. Joan passed the test and became the general of an army.
Before fighting any English she wrote a letter to the English to let them know they should leave now or they would have to fight against her. The English obviously refused this requests of peace. Joan had her own suit of armor made for her, which she was going to use in battle. Joan changed several things in her army. She required that her troops should go to church, that they should stop harassing civilians, stop swearing and several other things. Joan got people into the war again who had given up on Charles VII. Joan’s first siege went successfully when she captured the Church of Saint Loup. After this, due to Joan’s, victory’s the French kept defeating the English and pushing them back, out of France. Joan’s mission was to get Charles VII coronated as king of France. To coronate Charles, she needed the city of Reims, which at the time was the French’s coronating city. She was able to easily get to Reims and capture it. After Charles was coronated Joan was done, but Charles insisted she should help more and reclaim all of France.
This went well at first, winning battles for the French but it all went wrong when she was captured right after the Siege of Compiègne. She was captured by the Burgundians and held for four months. After four months Joan was sent to England where she was burned at the Stake. Even though Joan of Arc only fought against the English for only 2 years she still was a big reason the French won the war. Due to her victory, the French made her a saint and dedicated an entire feast day to her, which was on the May 30th.