100 Years War - A Summary:
Accession of Henri 'Plantagenet' d'Anjou, Maine and Touraine, to the
English throne; Henry II began the Plantagenet dynasty in England; by
inheritance, from his mother's side and sustained by force of arms;
Henry II held ducal claim to Normandy; in 1152, he had become duke of
Aquitaine by marriage to the heriess, Eleanor; King Henry II of England,
as a duke, held far more French land in direct vassalage than did the
French king; his son, Richard 'The Lionheart' managed to protect most
of it from seizure by the French king Philippe II Auguste.
King Philippe II Auguste of France defeated English German coalition
armies in the 'War of Bouvines', essentially confirming his earlier
confiscation of Normandy, Anjou and Maine from the English duke king
John I 'Lackland'; this effectively removed any direct claims of English
Plantagenet kings to the French domains associated with the French Norman
conquest of England in 1066.
King Louis IX, Saint Louis, defeated the English king Henry III and
a rebel force of French nobles in the Santonge War of 1242; the result
was confiscation by the French crown of large portions of the former
'Aquitaine'; however, Louis IX's main ambition was to devote his energies
toward a crusade to the Levant and he desired to assuage the king of
England with some return of French ducal land in Guyenne.
Treaty of Paris; Henry III of England acknowledged surrender of Plantagenet
claims to lands in France conquered by Philippe Augustus , which included
Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Touraine and Poitou; in addition, he accepted
to hold the remaining Plantagenet fiefs in southwest France by liege
homage to the king of France; however, this region remained a significant
source of disputes and confiscation initiatives by later French monarchs;
most significant was a 'small war' of Saint-Sardos (1325), which was
the result of king Edward II of England refusing to pay homage to Charles
IV of France for Guyenne.
Accession of Edward III (1327 to 1377) to the English throne; his mother,
Isabelle, was sister to three French kings, none of whom left a direct
male heir to the Capetian throne.
Death of the last Capetian king of France, Charles IV; Edward III's
claim to succeed him was rejected and Philippe de Valois, a cousin by
direct male line, acceded to the French throne as Philippe VI (1328
to 1350); this began the royal Valois dynasty in France; in 1329, Edward
III went to Amiems and paid homage to king Philippe IV of France for
the duchy of Guyenne; he also paid homage for the county of Ponthieu.
King Philippe VI of France declared the duchy of Guyenne forfeited by
Edward III for the latter's harboring of Robert d'Artois, a troublsome
criminal in the eyes of the French crown; Edward III sent a letter of
defiance to 'Pilip of Valois, who calls himself king of France'; these
incidents are usually cited as the Beginning of the Hundred Years' War.
Edward III's ambitions were supported by the newly appointed leader
of the Flemish townsmen seeking independence from France; Jacob van
Artevelde formed a commerical treaty with Edward III and encouraged
Edward to claim the French crown.
Edward III's first personally led a campaign in France, launched from
Flanders into Thiérache, which proved ineffective, as well as
financially costly; he returned to England to better prepare for a future
Edward III assumed the title of "king of England and France"
and concluded a military alliance with the Flemish; Edward III's fleet
defeated the French fleet at Sluys on the 24th June.
The death of the Jean III, duc de Bretagne, led to a war of succession
(1341 to 1364) for the duchy between Charles de Blois, supported by
the French king and Jean de Montfort, supported by the English king.
1345 to 1347:
English campaigns in Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine; the battle of
Crécy on the 26th August 1346 and capture of Calais on the 4th
1348 to 1349:
The 'Black Death', bubonic plague, spread in France and England.
The English defeated a Castilian fleet in battle of Les-Espagnols-sur-Mer,
off Winchelsea, in August; the death of Philippe VI, on the 22nd August,
and accession of Jean II le Bon (1350 to 64).
1355 to 1357:
The English campaigns in northern and southern France and the battle
of Poitiers on the 19th September 1356, in which Jean II of France was
made prisoner of the English.
In February, Parisian bourgeoise rebels, led by Etienne Marcel, murdered
the Marshals of Champagne and Normandy and threatened the life of the
dauphin, Charles, who was forced to flee the city; in May, a peasants'
rebellion, known as the jacqerie, began, but was put down near Meaux
by Charles "the Bad," King of Navarre.
1359 to 1360:
Hoping to gain from the dauphin's difficulties, Edward III launched
his last great campaign in France; he failed to get himself crowned
'king of France' at Reims, was unable to take Paris and agreed to the
preliminaries of a peace at Brétigny near Chartes on the 8th
May 1360; a modified version of the treaty was ratified at Calais on
the 24th October 1360; then there was relative peace in terms of direct
combat between the English and French armies until 1369; the French
king, Jean II was released from English captivity in December 1360.
The Grand Companies ravaged the French countryside; the routiers defeated
a royal army at Brignais on the 6th April; Edward III announced the
creation of the sovereign principality of Aquitaine to be ruled by his
son, the 'Black Prince', Edward of Woodstock.
King Jean II returned to London in 1364, and died there in the same
year, Charles V, the Wise became king of France (1364 to 80); Charles
V incited Charles 'the Bad' of Navarre to lead an uprising; Charles
of Navarre's forces were defeated in the battle of Chocherel in May
1364, by the French king's army, led by a low-ranking Breton knight,
Bertrand du Guesclin; Du Guesclin was later captured by the English
at the battle of Auray on the 29th September, in which Charles de Blois
Montfort's son, became Jean IV, duke of
Brittany, but paid homage to the French king, Charles V; Charles deployed
du Guesclin to lead a force of routiers to aid Enrique of Trastámara
against Pedro 'the Cruel', king of Castile, who was supported by an
English force under the Black Prince; Enrique was defeated at the battle
of Navarete on the 2nd April 1367 in Castile and du Guesclin was again
captured by the English and ransomed by Charles V.
Later, the English withdrew support of
Pedro and Enrique defeated Pedro at Montiel on the 14th March 1369;
the new king of Castile, Enrique II, rewarded the French for their support
by sending the formidable Castilian navy to assist the French in the
struggle against England.
1369 to 1373:
Renewed warfare between France and England began in June; Charles V
anounced that he was confiscating Aquitaine and launched an invasion
which took several towns; the Black Prince, experienced revolts in his
domaine and sacked Limoges on the 19th September 1370; the Prince returned
to England in 1371, leaving his French dominion to his brother, John
of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster.
Charles V, who had prepared his treasury
for war, financed a new fleet, Clos des Galées at Rouen, and
recruited commanders with proven battlefield experience, Oliver de Clisson,
Boucicault, Amaury de Craon, the Bègue de Vilaines, the Admiral
Jean de Vienne; in particular, Charles made du Guesclin constable on
the 2nd October 1370; in that same year the new constable and Oliver
de Clisson routed an English force at Pontvallain, near Le Mans.
The end of the 100 Years War:
This latter part of the first period of the Hundred Years' War was the
decisive part of the period; by mostly avoiding open field battles,
where the English longbow tactical system dominated, the French followed
Fabian methods of raids, ambushes, night attacks and harassment; Du
Guesclin led most of the main French operations and reconquered several
towns in Guyenne in 1372; in June of the same year, a Castilian fleet
destroyed the English fleet off La Rochelle; the trend was repeated
in Brittany and Normandy, as the French reclaimed, by force or bribery,
most all of the territories that had been ceded to Edward III at Brétigny.