- Discuss the three phases of conflict in the Hundred Years’ War and Joan of Arc’s role in it
- The root causes of the conflict can be found in the demographic, economic, and social crises of 14th-century Europe. The outbreak of war was motivated by a gradual rise in tension between the kings of France and England about Guyenne, Flanders, and Scotland. The Hundred Years’ War is commonly divided into three phases separated by truces: the Edwardian Era War (1337–1360); the Caroline War (1369–1389); and the Lancastrian War (1415–1453).
- The Edwardian War was driven by Edward III’s ambition to maintain sovereignty in Aquitaine and assert his claim as the rightful king of France by unseating his rival, Philip VI of France.
- The Caroline War was named after Charles V of France, who resumed the war after the Treaty of Brétigny.
- The Lancastrian War was the third phase of the Anglo-French Hundred Years’ War. It lasted from 1415, when Henry V of England invaded Normandy, to 1453, when the English failed to recover Bordeaux.
- Joan of Arc was a French peasant woman who had visions commanding her to drive out the invaders. She inspired the French troops, and they retook many French cities held by the English. Joan was burned at the stake and, 25 years after her death, declared a martyr.
the Black Death
One of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people and peaking in Europe in the years 1348–1350.
Treaty of Brétigny
A treaty signed on May 25, 1360, between King Edward III of England and King John II (the Good) of France. It is seen as having marked the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War.
the Black Prince
A name used to refer to Edward of Woodstock, used chiefly since the 16th century, and not during Edward’s lifetime. The name is thought to stem from his black armor or brutal attitude in battle.
A territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess.
Joan of Arc
Considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War; canonized as a Roman Catholic saint.
In the 13th century, after the Magna Carta failed to prevent the Baron Wars, King John and his son King Henry III’s reigns were characterized by numerous rebellions and civil wars, often provoked by incompetence and mismanagement in government. The reign of Henry III’s son Edward I (1272–1307), was rather more successful. Edward enacted numerous laws strengthening the powers of his government, and he summoned the first officially sanctioned Parliaments of England. He conquered Wales and attempted to use a succession dispute to gain control of the Kingdom of Scotland, though this developed into a costly and drawn-out military campaign.
After the disastrous reign of Edward II, which saw military losses and the Great Famine, Edward III reigned from 1327–1377, restoring royal authority and transforming the Kingdom of England into the most efficient military power in Europe. His reign saw vital developments in legislature and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament—as well as the ravages of the Black Death. After defeating, but not subjugating, the Kingdom of Scotland, he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1338, but his claim was denied. This started what would become known as the Hundred Years’ War.
The Hundred Years’ War
The Hundred Years’ War is the term used to describe a series of conflicts from 1337 to 1453, between the rulers of the Kingdom of England and the House of Valois for control of the French throne. These 116 years saw a great deal of battle on the continent, most of it over disputes as to which family line should rightfully be upon the throne of France. By the end of the Hundred Years’ War, the population of France was about half what it had been before the era began.
The root causes of the conflict can be found in the demographic, economic, and social crises of 14th-century Europe. The outbreak of war was motivated by a gradual rise in tension between the kings of France and England about Guyenne, Flanders, and Scotland. The dynastic question, which arose due to an interruption of the direct male line of the Capetians, was the official pretext.
The dispute over Guyenne is even more important than the dynastic question in explaining the outbreak of the war. Guyenne posed a significant problem to the kings of France and England; Edward III was a vassal of Philip VI of France and was required to recognize the sovereignty of the king of France over Guyenne. In practical terms, a judgment in Guyenne might be subject to an appeal to the French royal court. The king of France had the power to revoke all legal decisions made by the king of England in Aquitaine, which was unacceptable to the English. Therefore, sovereignty over Guyenne was a latent conflict between the two monarchies for several generations.
The war owes its historical significance to multiple factors. Although primarily a dynastic conflict, the war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. By its end, feudal armies had been largely replaced by professional troops, and aristocratic dominance had yielded to a democratization of the manpower and weapons of armies. The wider introduction of weapons and tactics supplanted the feudal armies where heavy cavalry had dominated. The war precipitated the creation of the first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire, composed largely of commoners and thus helping to change their role in warfare. With respect to the belligerents, English political forces over time came to oppose the costly venture. The dissatisfaction of English nobles, resulting from the loss of their continental landholdings, became a factor leading to the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487). In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines, and bandit free-companies of mercenaries reduced the population drastically. Deprived of its continental possessions, England was left with the sense of being an island nation, which profoundly affected its outlook and development for more than 500 years.
Historians commonly divide the war into three phases separated by truces: 1) the Edwardian Era War (1337–1360); 2) the Caroline War (1369–1389); and 3) the Lancastrian War (1415–1453), which saw the slow decline of English fortunes after the appearance of Joan of Arc in 1429.
The Edwardian Era War
The Edwardian War was the first series of hostilities of the Hundred Years’ War. It was a series of punctuated, separate conflicts waged between the kingdoms of England and France and their various allies for control of the French throne. The Edwardian War was driven by Edward III’s ambition to maintain sovereignty in Aquitaine and assert his claim as the rightful king of France by unseating his rival, Philip VI of France.
Edward had inherited the duchy of Aquitaine, and as duke of Aquitaine he was a vassal to Philip VI of France. He refused, however, to acknowledge his fealty to Philip, who responded by confiscating the duchy of Aquitaine in 1337; this precipitated war, and soon, in 1340, Edward declared himself king of France. Edward III and his son the Black Prince led their armies on a largely successful campaign across France. Hostilities were paused in the mid-1350s for the deprivations of the Black Death. Then war continued, and the English were victorious at the Battle of Poitiers (1356), where the French king, John II, was captured and held for ransom. The Truce of Bordeaux was signed in 1357 and was followed by two treaties in London in 1358 and 1359.
After the treaties of London failed, Edward launched the Rheims campaign. Though largely unsuccessful, this campaign led to the Treaty of Brétigny (signed 1360), which settled certain lands in France on Edward for renouncing his claim to the French throne. This peace lasted nine years, until a second phase of hostilities known as the Caroline War began.
The Caroline War
The Caroline War was named after Charles V of France, who resumed the war after the Treaty of Brétigny. In May 1369, the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England, refused an illegal summons from the French king demanding he come to Paris, and Charles responded by declaring war. He immediately set out to reverse the territorial losses imposed at Brétigny, but was largely successful. His successor, Charles VI, made peace with Richard II, son of the Black Prince, in 1389. This truce was extended many times until the war was resumed in 1415.
The Lancastrian War
The Lancastrian War was the third phase of the Anglo-French Hundred Years’ War. It lasted from 1415, when Henry V of England invaded Normandy, to 1453, when the English failed to recover Bordeaux. It followed a long period of peace from 1389, at end of the Caroline War. This phase was named after the House of Lancaster, the ruling house of the Kingdom of England, to which Henry V belonged. After the invasion of 1419, Henry V and, after his death, his brother John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, brought the English to the height of their power in France, with an English king crowned in Paris.
However, by that time, with charismatic leaders such as Joan of Arc, strong French counterattacks had started to win back all English continental territories, except the Pale of Calais, which was finally captured in 1558. Charles VII of France was crowned in Notre-Dame de Reims in 1429. The Battle of Castillon (1453) was the last battle of the Hundred Years’ War, but France and England remained formally at war until the Treaty of Picquigny in 1475. English, and later British, monarchs would continue to claim the French throne until 1800.
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Joan of Arc was born to Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy, in northeast France. Joan said she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.
On May 23, 1430, Joan was captured at Compiègne by the English-allied Burgundian faction. She was later handed over to the English and then put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. She was convicted on May 30, 1431, and burned at the stake when she was about nineteen years old.
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis, St. Michael, St. Remi, St. Petronilla, St. Radegund, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Joan of Arc biography. Joan of Arc (1412–1431) was born a peasant and became a heroine of France.