WARNING!!! The Hundred Years war covers 116 years of French and English history from 1337-1360. Furthermore, historians divide the war into four sets of dates, color coded on your handout. Ten minutes to cover it all. At the bottom of the page is the list of French and English Kings who reigned during these 116 years. Their names are color coded according to the war during which they ruled. Names with 2 colors ruled during two wars. There are two exceptions, noted with asterisks. The first is Henry IV who did not actually rule during a war. The second is Henry VI who claimed to rule both France and England from 1422-1453. He ruled during 3rd and 4th wars.
Here is the Short and Sweet of the Hundred Years War. I’ll start with a summary and then move into a more detailed coverage of the war. Okay, In 1337, a series of wars erupted between two royal houses. The French King died and was the last of the Capet dynasty. Unfortunately he had no sons, which left a power vaacum open. The House of Valois was a side branch of the House of Capet from the lineage of a cousin to the dead king. They claimed the French Throne based on the Salic Law (I’ll explain later), won the Hundred year’s War, and ruled from 1328-1589. The House of Plantagenet claimed the throne of France as well as that of England based on a direct lineage through the only surviving heir—the dead king’s sister who was married to the English King. The Plantagenets was originally from France. Geoffrey V of Normandy and Anjou married King Henry I’s daughter and their dynasty ruled England from 1154-1485. There were a bunch of different details which I’m getting ready to go into, but this is more or less the sum total. The important part here is to understand, both families had French roots, although one was now in England and France won, England Lost. Okay, now on to the specifics.
Okay, At the top of your handout, you’ll see a bunch of names with arrows between them. Those are the Kings and Queens of France and England leading up to the war which are important to the start of the war. A block arrow is direct lineage (i.e. from father to son), the skinny arrow is indirect lineage (i.e. from father to some non-immediate family member such as an uncle). So, we start with France being ruled by the house of Capet. The King is Philip II who has a ton of children—the significant ones are Philip IV, Charles of Valois, and Margaret. Philip IV takes the throne and has four children: Louix X, Philip V, Charles IV, and Isabelle. Charles of Valois has a son Philip VI. Margaret is married off to King Edward I– King of England and of the house of the Plantagenets. Okay, side track. How many of you saw Braveheart before coming to liberty? Well if you’ll remember, the evil king is Edward I—this is the same dude. His weak, ineffectual and homosexual son is Edward II who was married off to Isabelle, Princess of France. They have a son—Edward III. Now back to the slide. Philip IV had three sons—but they all die without male heirs, and, with the death of Charles IV, the Capetian line ends. Now, France has no king, and no male heirs. Edward III claims the throne since he is the only male grandchild of Philip IV. The French court does not want to be ruled by an English king, so they get their attorneys to remind the courts of Salic Law. This was a very ancient law that said no female heir could inherit the throne. Thus, they said, Isabelle could not inherit or pass it on to her son. So the throne went to a cousin of Isabelle– Philip VI of the House of Valois. Edward argued his case. Salic law said Isabelle could not inherit, but it did not say that her children could not inherit through her. Thus he claimed that he should be king. And so a war began in 1337 between Edward III and Philip VI over who was the legal heir to the throne of England.
Here is a list of English lands and allies at the beginning of the war. This same map is on the back of your handouts, and at the bottom you will find a list of important countries. Now, England owned the county of Aquitaine through marriage. They had at times held possessions in Brittany and still held a great deal of support there. Furthermore, Flanders (part of France, but not part of Belgium) allied itself to France after a few battles there which the English won.
On to causes. One of the most significant causes for the initial outbreak of war, was a fight for the wealth of Flanders. Flanders was French, but was a significant trading partner of England. It became very wealthy but was not as loyal to the French throne as it once had been because of its ties now to England. The French throne began to implement measures which would tighten controls on the wealth and civil war broke out. France supported the land owners while England supported the merchants. As a result, the merchants won their battles, and England took hold of the support of a significant area in France. France felt threatened between Flanders and Aquitaine, so they allied themselves to Scotland. Now England was facing Scotland and France on either side. Thus, their alliances pushed them apart, and both felt the other was preparing for war anyway. I have already mentioned the dynastic struggle. This would actually be a problem throughout the wars as different English kings attempted to claim the throne of France, and it would set off at least three of the periods of fighting. But back to initial causes. After the Flanders debacle, King Philip VI finally revokes English land ownership in France and starts supporting minor skirmishes on the Aquitaine border. Edward III is furious and officially proclaims himself King of France in 1337, although it is never acknowledged in France. Thus war begins.
One division of the four wars is the fact that each one demonstrated a changing of the tide in who was winning. From 1337-1360, England held the upper hand. After Edward III claimed the French Throne, the Holy Roman Empire (and Catholic Church) agrees to back him. This held a lot of sway—particularly in a later war after the arrest of Joan of Arc. In 1340, the English attack French ships who were sent to fight in Flanders, and the English gain the English Channel in the Battle of Sluys. This is very significant, because so long and England holds the channel, they can guarantee that the war will take place in French at French expense. Then in 1345, Edward officially invades France. 1346, they fight the Battle of Crecy. This is a significant battle because English technology is revealed to be far in advance of French technology. This was another success for England. 1356, at the battle of poitiers, Edward captures the new French kink—John II. HE signs the treaty of London giving England its territory in Aquitaine back. 1359, England captures Calais, and it will hold this long after the Hundred Years War is over. Finally, in 1360, the Peace of Bretigney ends the war, and Edward agrees to give up his claim to the throne in exchange for more territory. However, English mercenaries continue to raid France.
Here is a picture of the battle of Crezy in 1346.
In 1369, two lords of Aquitaine complain to the French king about an English tax they are being pushed to pay. Charles V, although he has no juridiction in Aquitiane, decides to summon Edward the Black Prince of England to answer the charges. Edward refuses to answer the summons, and Charles declares war. This was completely different from the first war, because England was already at a disadvantage. They were coming out of a war in Spain, where they had lost a great deal of manpower and equipment. They simply were not as prepared as the French, and the French took advantage of this. In 1372, at the Battle of La Rochelle, the French gained control of the English Channel and took back the parts of Brittany which they had lost in the Peace of Bretigney. In 1375, the Truce of Brughes ends the war, but once again the skirmishes continue. In 1376, the Black Prince dies and Edward III died a year later. Richard II took the throne of England, and in 1380, Charles VI takes the throne of France. The result of this war was that France pushed the english backwards and the English lost lands again.
The English also lost control of the Channel, meaning they were no longer protected from invasion. Still attempting to recover from the war with Spain, and now having lost so much to France, England was affected economically by the war, and went through a depression. Eventually this was one of the causes of the Peasants Revolt of 1381. In the picture above, at the Battle of La Rochelle, the French used 22 ships to defeat the English’s 50 ships.
Tides turn again. In 1413, henry V took the English throne and invaded France. They began to regain ground. In 1415, the Battle at Agincourt resulted in the overwhelming English defeat of a much larger French army. This gave Henry time to regroup his troops and prepare for the long haul. IN 1420, the Treaty of Troyes was signed. Charles VI of France married his daughter Princess Katherine to king Henry V, and agreed to make him his heir. The problem was that Charles already had an heir, his son Charles VII. He thus disinherits his son in favor of the English king. This treaty was ratified, but was still against the law. This is more or less the end of English major success during the war. In 1422, Charles VI dies, and England invades France again, now it is a battle over the throne. France rallies around Joan of Arc, and becomes more unified in its disapproval of english actions. The two nations are splitting apart and the familial and national ties linking the nobles of one to the nobles of another are collapsing. In 1428-1429, the Seige of Orleans is a major victory for Joan of Arc who is attempting to place Charles VII on the throne again. This was the final turning poin in the war. France gains the upper hand and will hold it through 1453.
Finally, the last war. In 1429, Charles VII is crowned king of France in Rheims. In 1431, Henry VI is crowned King of France in Paris. In 1453, Henry VI is declared mentally ill. At the Battle of Castillon, Charles VII wins and gains the throne from Henry VI. England officially loses the Hundred Year’s War, except for Calais. They continued to hold Calais until 1565 when the French won it back. To this day, they still hold the Channel Islands in the English Channel.
The Hundred Years War
116 years (1337-1453) of French and English History.
A series of four wars.
(1337-1360), (1369-1375), (1413-1429), (1429-1453).
That’s a lot of material to cover!
Short and Sweet
A series of wars erupted from 1337-1453 between two
royal houses after the last Capetian king of France died
with no heir.
The House of Valois was a side branch of the House of
Capet and were from the Burgundy area. They claimed
the French Throne based on the Salic Law, won the
Hunred Year’s War, and ruled from 1328-1589.
The House of Plantagenet claimed the right to rule
both France and England through direct descent on
mother’s side. Geoffrey V of Normandy/Anjou area in
France married the daughter of King Henry I and their
children and line ruled England 1154-1485.
Philip IV Charles of Valois Margaret
Louis X Philip V Charles IV Isabelle Philip VI
Salic Law: Old law saying no daughter could take the throne: it went to Charles of Valois.
However, Salic law did not prevent inheritance through daughter, so Edward III had a
Engl. & Fren.
Fight For Flanders: French, but a significant trading
partner with England. Became very wealthy, and France
decided to attempt to tighten controls on that wealth. Civil
War broke out, with French supporting land owners and
English supporting merchants.
Alliances: England Allied with Flanders and held southern
France, leaving French authority at risk. As a result, France
allied to Scottish leaving England in the same mess.
Dynastic struggle—Finally, Philip VI revokes English land
ownership in France and conflicts arise on the Aquitaine
border. Edward III declares himself King of France 1337.
1337—Edward III claims French Throne, Holy Roman Empire
1340—English attacked French ships sent to defeat Flanders and
got control of English Channel in Battle of Sluys.
1345—Edward III invaded France.
1346—Battle of Crecy. Significant battle where English Longbows
far out won the French Crossbow. Win for Eng.
1356—Battle of Poitiers. King Edward III captured new French
King John II, Treaty of London gave Eng. Aquitaine again.
1359—English captured Calais.
1360—Peace of Bretigney ended first war, but English
mercenaries continued to devastate France. Edward III gives up
claim to the throne, but gets French Territory
Battle of Crezy (1346)
Josef Mathauser (1846-1917)
1369—Edward the Black Prince (Eng.) refused a summons
from King Charles V (Fr.), France declares war.
England was coming out of war with Spain, not as strong as
before. French had advantage.
1372—French gain control of English Channel and Brittany
in Battle of La Rochelle.
1375—Truce of Bruges ends war, skirmishes continue.
1376—Black Prince dies & Edward III dies a year later.
French began to push the English back, and the English lost
some French lands.
Naval Battle where French with 22
ships defeated English with 50 ships.
Ended English control of English
Channel, which it had held since
England was no longer protected
The war began to effect them
economically. Result was the
Peasants Revolt of 1381.
1413—Henry V, took the English throne in 1413, and again
invaded France. England regained ground.
1415—Battle at Agincourt resulted in overwhelming defeat of
larger French army. Best known battle of this particular war—
gave Henry time to regroup.
1420—Treaty of Troyes: King Charles VI married daughter
Princess Katherine to King Henry V and made him heir to the
throne, thus disinheriting Charles VII. It was ratified but still
against the law. Mainly this is the end of English major success
during the war.
1422—England invades France again—battle over throne. France
rallies around Joan of Arc.
1428-1429—Siege of Orleans- victory for Joan of Arc. Turning
point in war; French gains the upper hand and hold it for the rest
of the war.
“King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415”
By John Gilbert (1817–97)
1429—Charles VII (still of Valois line) is crowned
French King in Rheims.
1431—Henry VI crowned King of France in Paris.
1453—Henry VI is mentally ill. Battle of Castillon—
Valois win. Throne goes to Charles VII. England
loses Hundred Year’s War except for Calais.—official
end of war.
1565—French won back Calais. To this day, the English
hold the Channel Islands in the English Channel.
“Jeanne d'Arc at the Siege of Orléans”
By Jules Eugène Lenepveu, 1886–1890
Clément de Fauquembergue
IMPORTANCE TO LANGUAGE
United the English against the French, including the nobles, many of
whom, like the Plantagenets, originally came from France and owned
land in France until this time.
England officially lost practically all of their lands in France and lost
one of the last reasons for maintaining the French language.
The English language became part of the English national identity as
separate and distinct from France. This contributed to the final end of
Norman French dominance.
England’s stronghold in military technology allowed them to also
develop navy strength and pushed them ahead in the acquisition of
new territory during the Colonial era. This allowed them to spread the
English language and grow the number of speakers.
The absence of the nobles, meant that their Norman French influence
was also greatly absent, thus English had time to spread through the
land and gain power once again.