Ap european history



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  • The
  • Hundred
  • Years' War
  • (1347-1453)
  • Causes
  • of the
  • 100 Years' War

The French nobility selected Philip of Valois, a cousin of the last king through the male line.

  • The French nobility selected Philip of Valois, a cousin of the last king through the male line.
    • He founded a new French dynasty that ruled through the 16c.
    • He was chosen in preference to King Edward III of England, whose mother was the daughter of the late king, Philip IV.
  • In 1340, Edward claimed the title “King of France.”
  • 1. Controversy Over Succession

2. Fr. Land Belonging to Br. Kings

  • A longer standing issue was the status of lands within France that belonged to English kings.
  • Edward was actually a vassal of Philip’s, holding sizable French territories as fiefs from the king of France [it went back to the Norman conquest].

3. Conflict Over Flanders

  • Wool industry.
  • Flanders wants its independence from French control.
  • Asks England for help.
  • The ‘dagger’ pointing at the ‘heart’ of England!

4. A Struggle for National Identity

  • France was NOT a united country before the war began.
  • The French king only controlled about half of the country.
  • The
  • War
  • Itself

Military Characteristics

  • The War was a series of short raids and expeditions punctuated by a few major battles, marked off by truces or ineffective treaties.
    • The relative strengths of each country dictated the sporadic nature of the struggle.

French Advantages

  • Population of about 16,000,000.
  • Far richer and more populous than England.
  • At one point, the French fielded an army of over 50,000  at most, Britain mustered only 32,000.

British Advantages

  • Weapons Technologies.
  • In almost every engagement, the English were outnumbered.
    • Britain’s most successful strategies:
      • Avoid pitched battles.
      • Engage in quick, profitable raids
        • Steal what you can.
        • Destroy everything else.
        • Capture enemy knights to hold for ransom.

The use of the English defensive position was the use of the longbow.

  • The use of the English defensive position was the use of the longbow.
  • Its arrows had more penetrating power than a bolt from a crossbow.
    • Could pierce an inch of wood or the armor of a knight at 200 yards!
  • A longbow could be fired more rapidly.
    • 6 arrows per minute.
  • The Longbow as a Weapon
  • The British Longbow: The Battle of Poitiers, 1356
  • Early English Victories

French Confusion

  • The English captured the French king, John II [r.1350-1364].
    • France was now ruled by the Estates General
      • A representative council of townspeople and nobles.
      • Created in 1355.
      • Purpose  to secure funds for the war.
        • In theory, the French king could not levy taxes on his own!!

The Jacquerie,1358

  • In the confusion and unrest following the French disaster at Poitiers, this rural movement began.
  • It was a response to the longstanding economic and political grievances in the countryside worsened by warfare.
  • The rebels were defeated by aristocratic armies.

Trouble in England

  • Peasant Revolt in 1381 was put down by King Richard II [r. 1377-1399].
  • After charges of tyranny, Richard II was forced to abdicate in 1300.
  • Parliament elected Henry IV [r. 1399-1413], the first ruler from the House of Lancaster.
    • Henry avoided war taxes.
    • He was careful not to alienate the nobility.
  • Therefore, a truce was signed ending French and British hostilities [for the time being, at least].

King Henry V (r. 1412-1422)

  • Renewed his family’s claim to the French throne.
  • At Agincourt in 1415, the English, led by Henry himself, goaded a larger French army into attacking a fortified English position.
    • With the aid of the dukes of Burgundy, Henry gained control over Normandy, Paris, and much of northern France!

Treaty of Troyes (1420)

  • Charles VI’s son [the future Charles VII], was declared illegitimate and disinherited.
  • Henry V married Catherine, the daughter of Charles VI.
    • Henry was declared the legitimate heir to the French throne!
  • A final English victory seemed assured, but both Charles VI and Henry V died in 1422.
  • This left Henry’s infant son, Henry VI [r. 1422-1461], to inherit BOTH thrones.

The French “Reconquest”

  • The two kings’ deaths ushered in the final stage of the 100 Years’ War [1422-1453].
    • Even though in 1428 the military and political power seemed firmly in British hands, the French reversed the situation.
  • In 1429, with the aid of the mysterious Joan of Arc, the French king, Charles VII, was able to raise the English siege of Orleans.
    • This began the reconquest of the north of France.

Joan of Arc (1412-1432)

  • The daughter of prosperous peasants from an area of Burgundy that had suffered under the English.
  • Like many medieval mystics, she reported regular visions of divine revelation.
    • Her “voices” told her to go to the king and assist him in driving out the English.
  • She dressed like a man and was Charles’ most charismatic and feared military leader!
  • Cannons Used at Orleans
  • Joan Announces the Capture of Orleans to the King

Joan of Arc (1412-1432)

  • She brought inspiration and a sense of national identity and self-confidence.
  • With her aid, the king was crowned at Reims [ending the “disinheritance”].
  • She was captured during an attack on Paris and fell into English hands.
    • Because of her “unnatural dress” and claim to divine guidance, she was condemned and burned as a heretic in 1432.
    • She instantly became a symbol of French resistance.

Joan as a “Feminist” Symbol Today?

The End of the War

  • Despite Joan’s capture, the French advance continued.
  • By 1450 the English had lost all their major centers except Calais.
  • In 1453 the French armies captured an English-held fortress.
    • This was the last battle of the war.
  • There was not treaty, only a cessation of hostilities.
  • France Becomes Unified!
  • France in 1337
  • France in 1453

English Results

  • Wars of the Roses fought in England during the last phase of the Hundred Years war.
  • Henry VII (House of Lancaster) won by defeating Richard III (House of York) and established the Tudor dynasty.
  • Further unified and strengthened England under monarchs such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.


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