15 April 2023

What is the 100 years war? – Learn the causes and consequences of the Hundred Years War

By Donald

It was a war between the kingdoms of France and England between the 14th and 15th centuries (1333 and 1453). This contest that both countries disputed for the French crown was the military combat longest known in Europe. During those 116 years, extensive campaigns were carried out in French territory, although they also alternated with periods of truces. This war created the strength and authenticity of both nations.

What was the 100 years war?

This war was full of diplomatic and military clashes by the rulers of both countries. It was characterized by its brief war campaigns and its long truces, which means that it was not a constant war. It began in the midst of feudal conditions due to a dispute and ended in a great conflict, administered by their monarchies.

Now this war consisted of a series of invasions and raids from the English to French territory. The English monarchy maintained the conflict because it was a great way to get rich, in this way they arrived in France with armed men and looting began and thanks to their strong organization they had great victories.

The conflagration started when King Edward III of England and King Philip VI of France had problems over some feudal rights of Gascogne. The English won great battles, despite having to face the Black Death, but France gradually recovered its territory and with the great intervention of Joan of Arc, a French peasant, changed the course of the war.

It is considered that the 100 years war begins the transition from the feudal age of the Middle Ages to the arrival of modern states with a centralist monarchical system. The great international dimension that this conflict had, the resources used and the social problems are some of the elements that changed the functionality and meaning of a kingdom.

What were the causes of the Hundred Years War?

Since the war lasted so long, the conditions and causes changed over the years. According to the kings that were established, this is why did not have a single causebut they varied according to the time and circumstances.

This war began not as a national struggle between France and England, but as a dynastic conflict between monarchies for a given territory. Since France was the richest kingdom, but England was the most organized, therefore, they decided to attack and thus be able to have the French territory and its riches.

The first cause occurred when King Edward III of England demanded his right to the Gallic throne above the king of France. This conflict was inherited by four generations of both monarchs, being also linked to the control of the textile industry in Flanders, linked to England by the importation of wine and wool.

Due to the ambitions that the territory of Flanders had, where a highly desired wool was produced in the production of upholstery, they sought the help of the English so that in this way could secede from France. Fact that caused the total anger of the French crown.

On the other hand, when King Charles V of France took power, he wanted to incite war, since due to his ambition he wanted to get the English out of certain French feudal territories after their invasion. this king inherited a bankrupt kingdom and ruins, but he was able to raise it up and choose great collaborators who helped him in his fight and thus be able to carry out a concrete political project.

In short, although the monarchs of both countries were changing, the conflict for geopolitical, social and economic reasons continued, until after 116 years It ended.

How did the Hundred Years War unfold?

It began when King Felipe VI confiscated the Duchy of Aquitaine as revenge for the protection given by Edward III to Robert of Artois, a great enemy of the French king. In this way Edward III claims his right to the throne of France, a fact that unfolded the conflict between both monarchies.

King Edward III conducts land operations against France in 1339 and they defeat them in the naval battle of sluys, This causes the war to develop in French territory, but after the debts that the English monarchy had, a truce had to be agreed.

In 1346 the English reached French territory with a large army, and were victorious at the Battle of Crécy, where many French noblemen died and were taken prisoner. of this war they get big loot and they go after the Scots, allies of France. Here peace is declared between Scotland and England and the Treaty of Berwick is signed.

After several attempts by the English to invade France, King Henry V of England reaffirms his right to the French throne and arrives in Normandy with a large army. and through his alliance with the duchy of Burgundy, achieved victory in the agincourt war, against an army that was far superior. They take Caen and kill all the male civilians, on the king’s orders.

After years of strife and truces, in the year 1428, a French peasant named Joan of Arctakes charge of the military operations of France and when the English took Paris, she puts herself in command of the French and lifts the siege, where she obtains the victories of Troyes, Chálons and Reims.

After her great victories, Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians, allies of the English, and is handed over to them where is killed at the stake. After this, the truce is signed for a few years.

Finally, King Charles VII of France attacked Normandy and Gascony in 1450 and defeated the English army at Fromigny. In this way, England begins to lose her territories. For the year 1453 the French troops take Bordeaux and Aquitaine, achieving take back all of Franceexcept Calais, and thus ends the war.

Who participated in the 100 years war?

It was a constant war between France, which was considered as one of the most powerful kingdoms and important of the time, and England, which was constituted by a poor kingdom and less populated than the French. Both were in fights and truces for 116 years.

However, they were not the only countries or territories that participated. Since both sides had allies, which were made up of political entities from middle Ages. Therefore the belligerents, in addition to France and England were:

Where did the 100 years war take place?

Although the Hundred Years War was a mutual combat between the monarchies of France and England, it should be noted that it all started with invasions and raids by the English forces, who kept up the war for so long to enrich themselves and weaken their opponent by stealing their territories.

This is why the place where these fights took place was always in French soil or territories of its allies such as Perroy and Castilla. Where they lost a large part of their lands due to the English invasion, and although the course of the entire war was based on France recovering their territories, this was not possible until the end of the conflict.

What were the stages of the Hundred Years War?

Being such an extensive and complex war, it has been divided into 4 fundamental stages:

  • First stage: It was generated between the years 1337 to 1360, with the naval battle of Sluys, where the English troops defeated the French and acquired an advantage, since they managed to land on French territory. At this stage, the english victories and by the year 1360, the Treaty of Bretigny was signed where France gave some territories to England in exchange for King Edward III giving up his wishes on the French crown.
  • Second stage: It occurs between the years 1360 to 1396, in this period France acquires a little advantage, because when King Edward III and his son died, they managed to recover some territories. In addition, the hostilities between England and France returned, thanks to their interventions in the civil wars that took place in Castile.
  • Third stage: This period occurs between 1396 and 1421, when France helps the independence aspirations of the Kingdom of Scotland, which was dominated by the English monarchy. England responded with a invasion of france, where he won several battles. This stage ends with the signing of the Treaty of Troyes.
  • Fourth stage: the last period was generated between 1422 to 1453, its main protagonist was Joan of Arc, who gave morale to the French in order to defeat the English and allowed Carlos VII access to the throne, since he had lost it in the Treaty of Troyes. Finally, France manages to defeat England and recovers her territories in the battle of Castillon.

What were the most important battles in the Hundred Years War?

the war of the a hundred years it brought with it many battles played out over time throughout France, bringing victories for one side and defeats for the other. Some battles of great importance are:

  • The Battle of Crécy (1346): gave great victories to England, thanks to the long range of their bows. In this battle the English won the territory of Calais, which lasted in their possession until 1558.
  • The Battle of Agincourt (1415): It stood out because England had very few troops, but with the weapons they had they managed to match and beat France. One of the consequences of this war was that the French had to accept the English King Henry V as King of France.
  • Battle of Sluys (1340): It was a naval conflict that took place in the port of Esclusa. The English managed to capture almost all the French ships, thus giving them naval supremacy in the English Channel.
  • The Battle of Formigny (1450): Thanks to the feats that Joan of Arc had performed and the courage that she instilled in the French troops, this battle was a success for France, where she managed to recover the north of the country and Normandy.

What consequences did the 100 years war leave?

When a historical event happens, it is always accompanied by certain consequences, positively or negatively, but that ultimately change the course of things. It also happens with this great war that England and France lived through, which left immediate as well as long-term consequences:

  • The large number of deaths of those who were in combat for so many years and those civilians robbed and besieged by some soldiers. As well as the death of great French nobles, which produced the dissolution of feudalism in France.
  • HE they recaptured the French territories stolen by the English during the first and third stage. As for England, he was able to keep the port of Calais on the English Channel.
  • With the weakening of EnglandAfter the heavy fighting with France, the transition between the Middle Ages and the modern age of the British Isles was marked.
  • Regarding the economy, trade he was very affected after the conflicts. The peasants had to put up with the imposition of new taxes that financed the war, which resulted in a peasant rebellion in the year 1381. Even the congregations were also affected, since the income that went to the pope in Rome was used for the war , this produced that the churches of England and France managed to have a more national character.
  • In the political realm the monarchical system was strengthened in both countries, leaving behind the governments of the medieval era and causing the beginning of absolutist monarchies.