You have probably heard of the Hundred Years War before. The thing about it is that it actually lasted off-and-on for 116 years! That’s a long time to battle it out! But do you know how it began?
It all started when Edward III became the King of England. England was at that time at War with Scotland, and had signed a humiliating treaty recognizing Scotland’s Independence some years before, in 1328. France had been allied with Scotland, and England was aware that France had supplied the Scots. As a way of discipline, Edward III then decided that France was a better conquest than the poor lands in Scotland. There was one problem: France was HUGE! Edward started reforming his army to make up for this disadvantage. In order to rule a kingdom effectively, you have to convince everyone that there’s a reason why you took their kingdom in the first place. There was an answer to this: As in many cases, Edward had a claim to the throne of that country. Charles IV of France had died in 1328, leaving no male child, so he passed the throne to his cousin, Philip VI of Valois. However, Edward III was Charles IV’s Nephew! Edward’s mother was Charles’s sister. And even though it was through a female line, Edward III should’ve been king in place of Philip VI in his eyes. He declared war in 1337 and proclaimed himself king of France. Edward III wasn’t a bad fighter, but his son Edward, the Black Prince, was better. In 1346, the French were defeated at Crecy, and Calais surrendered to England. In 1350, Philip died and was replaced with his son, John II. John was peaceful and gentle king, so in 1356 Edward defeated France at Poitiers and took John Prisoner. John was released only after giving England One-Third of France, temporarily ending the war. In 1364, John died, and was succeeded by Charles V. The war flared up again, but the French took most of England’s possessions before Edward III died. Edward was succeeded by his grandson, Richard II, because the Black Prince had already died. In 1380, Charles VI became king of France, but became mad in 1392. Richard II married Charles VI’s daughter and peace endured until Richard was murdured by his successor, Henry IV. Henry V succeeded Henry IV in 1413. Henry V was a war-like king, and won back many territories for England. In 1420, Henry married Charles VI’s daughter and was recognized as heir to the French Throne by Charles. In 1422, Henry died and was succeeded by HIS son Henry VI, and the next month Charles died. Henry was crowned king of France and England, but in France, Charles VI’s son was made Charles VII and proclaimed King by Joan of Arc, who led France to victory. Henry VI blundered at warfare, and lost everything but Calais in 1453, when the long war finally ended, and England finally gave up its claim to France.
What do YOU think of this long war? How DO Monarchs effect war’s outcomes? Who were the REAL kings of France, The English, or the French? Why did the war last so long? Was it all worth it? How do YOU think this changed history, if it did? What would YOU have done?
History has many questions, and that is one thing that makes it fun. Playing the “what-if” game shows us how different things could be if one event had or hadn’t happened!