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Hundred Years' War

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The Hundred Years' War

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The Hundred Years' War raged from 1337 to 1453 between England and France over control of the French throne. Allies of both sides were also drawn in. The war had roots in a dynastic disagreement dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, who became King of England in 1066 while retaining possession of the Duchy of Normandy in France. As rulers of Normandy and other lands on the continent, the English kings owed feudal homage to the king of France. In 1337, Edward III refused to pay homage to his younger brother Philip VI of France, leading the French king to claim confiscation of Edward's lands in Aquitaine.

Edward responded by declaring that he, not Philip, was the rightful king of France, a claim dating to 1328, when Charles IV of France died without a male heir. Edward was the closest male relative of Charles IV as son of Isabella of France, daughter of Philip IV of France and sister of Charles IV. But instead, Philip VI, the son of Philip IV's younger brother, Charles of Valois, was crowned king of France in accordance with Salic Law, which disqualified female succession and the succession of males descended through female lines. The question of legal succession to the French crown was central to the war over generations of English and French claimants.

The war is commonly divided into three phases separated by truces:

  • Edwardian Era War (1337–1360)
  • Caroline War (1369–1389)
    • Battle of Nájera or Navarrete 3 April 1367
  • Lancastrian War (1415–1453),

which saw the slow decline of English fortunes after the appearance of Joan of Arc in 1429. Contemporary European conflicts directly related to this conflict were the Breton War of Succession, the Castilian Civil War, the War of the Two Peters, and the 1383-1385 Crisis. The term "Hundred Years' War" is a periodization invented later by historians to encompass all of these events.

Although primarily a dynastic conflict, the war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. It saw weapons and tactics that supplanted feudal armies dominated by heavy cavalry. The first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire were introduced, changing the role of peasantry. For this, it is often viewed as one of the most significant conflicts in medieval warfare. English political forces over time came to oppose the costly venture; while English nobles' dissatisfactions, resulting from the loss of their continental landholdings, was a factor leading to War of the Roses civil war. In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines and bandit free companies of mercenaries reduced the population drastically. [1]


  1. Wikipedia:Hundred_Years'_War

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