Hundred Years War
between England and France
The Hundred Years War 1337-1453 was a conflict between England and France caused by a dynastic quarrel between the kings of England, who held the duchy of Guienne, in France, and resented paying homage to the kings of France.
There were several immediate causes: a quarrel between EDWARD III of England and PHILIP IV of France over a part of Guienne held by France; English attempts to control the commercially important FLANDERS, a French possession; fishing disputes in the English Channel; and Philip's support of Scotland in its dispute with England.
The war began in 1337, when Edward, assuming the title King of France, invaded France. The English won a sea battle at Sluis (1340) and land battles at Crécy (1346), Calais (1347), and Poitiers (1360), where King John II of France was captured. The Treaty of Brétigny (1360) awarded England Calais, Aquitaine, and a large ransom for the captured king. In return, England gave up its claim to the French crown.
The war resumed in 1369, when nobles in Aquitaine rebelled over the oppressive tax policies of EDWARD THE BLACK PRINCE. By 1373 DU GUESCLIN had won back most of the English claims. The conflict then languished until 1415, when HENRY V of England defeated France's best knights at AGINCOURT. He then allied himself with Burgundy and went on to subdue Normandy.
By 1429 the English and their Burgundian allies controlled practically all of France north of the Loire and had Orléans under siege. French fortunes were reversed that year, however. JOAN OF ARC lifted the siege of Orléans and saw the dauphin crowned as CHARLES VII at Rheims. Her capture and execution did not end the string of French victories.
In 1435 Charles obtained an alliance with Burgundy, and by 1450 France had reconquered Normandy. By 1451 all of Guienne except Bordeaux was in French hands. Bordeaux fell in 1453, leaving the English only Calais (which they retained until 1558).
Domestic difficulties, specifically the Wars of The ROSES, kept England from making any further attempts to conquer France. The Hundred Years War inflicted untold misery on the French people. Famine, the Black Death, and roving bands of marauders decimated the population.
An entirely new France emerged. The virtual destruction of the feudal nobility allowed the monarchs to unite the country more solidly under the royal authority and to ally themselves with the newly rising middle class. England ceased thinking of itself as a continental power and began to develop as a sea power.
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