The 100 Years War
The Hundred Years War
One of the main causes of the series of wars between France and England in the 14th and 15th centuries was the question of Frances line of succession. Who should be the king after the death, in 1328, of Charles IV of France? There were two main claimants to the throne:
" Philip VI cousin of Charles IV and nephew of Philip the Fair; and
" Edward III King of England, nephew of Charles IV, and, on his mothers side, grandson of Philip the Fair.
This series of wars, which later became known as the Hundred Years War, and the occupation by the English, were not the only dangers to the Kingdom of France. After the defeat of the French in several battles, most notably Crécy in 1346 and Poitiers in 1356, the situation was worsened by several insurrections, for example, Étienne Marcel, the Jacquerie (Peasants Revolt), and the civil war between the Burgundians and the House of Orléans (later known as the Armagnacs).
The English occupied large areas of France, or had effective control following the Anglo-Burgundian Alliance of 1419. Then came the Treaty of Troyes in 1420 which named Henry V of England as the Regent of France and heir to the throne of Charles VI. The dauphin (Charles Valois later Charles VII of France) was declared incapable of becoming king of France, and was made an outlaw by the Parlement of Paris in December 1420 for his part in the murder of John the Fearless (Duke of Burgundy). Charles Valois retreated to his apanage of Berry, and controlled the region of France to the South of the Loire (barring Guyenne).
The emergence of Joan of Arc changed the situation rapidly. This young maid, from the village of Domrémy in the County of Bar (later the Duchy of Bar) on the Marches of Lorraine, aroused patriotic feeling amongst the French people. With her companions, she led the French army to numerous victories. After raising the siege of Orléans, Joan led Charles Valois to the cathedral at Reims to be crowned King of France and anointed with the sacred oil of Clovis (the first Christian king of the Franks). The English were to win no further significant battles in France.
The Armagnacs and Burgundians were reconciled with the Treaty of Arras in 1435, and Paris was retaken in 1436. Piece by piece, Charles VII re-conquered France. After the fall of Guyenne in 1453, the Hundred Years War was over. Only Calais remained in English hands, and that too was lost to France in 1558.