Hundred Years War

How did this impact feudalism?

When and Why did the Hundred Years War start?

The Hundred Years War began in 1337 and ended in 1453. The Hundred Years' war started when the English and French both wanted to own France. But only one could be the ruler of France so they fought over it. Which started the longest war in history so far.

What weapons did the soldiers use?

The army was made of lightly armor knights, foot soldiers, and archers armed with longbows. But some soldier were recruited from the common people and paid to fight.

The soldiers used swords and lances, but some of the infantry, or foot soldiers used crossbows, which were effective only at short ranges. The longbow had many advantages over the crossbow. Larger arrows could be fired more quickly, the arrows few farther faster and more accurately, and could pierce the armor of the time. T Crecy, the longbow helped the English defeat the much larger French force.

How did the Hundred Years War impact feudalism?

In simple overview terms, the feudal system involved individual nobles, knights and landowners pledge allegiance to the king in the return for recognition of the ownership of their land. The allegiance included had to provide military service, a certain number of men depending on the wealth/ amount of land and individual owned. This military service was only 40 days a year, however. This meant medieval armies were a hotchpotch of irregular, often untrained and differently equipped soldiers that would disband after 40 days, making it difficult for kings to assemble large armies for long enough to achieve long lasting results.

The Hundred Years War (which actually lasted from 1336 - 1457) called for something better, so the English developed a system of direct contract between the King and any knight or noble who had the influence, wealth or ability to raise a force of given size for foreign operations - these contracted forces were thus under military control of the king rather than their feudal overlord. In 1445 the ordonnance reforms in France established regular paid military units directly in the service of the king. So, both England and France developed effective standing armies controlled by the monarch.

This was due to the fact that the war lasted so long and the kings needed soldiers for more than 40 days a year. Now, the kings could use these standing armies to enforce the royal will throughout the realm, rather than relying on the influence of powerful local nobles in the regions. This weakened the feudal bond between people and their local lord, and they began to identify more with their kings and began to see themselves more as Frenchmen or Englishmen than just vassals of their local lord. These trends helped kings centralize, and thus increase the powers of the state at the expense of feudal lords.

A few pictures of the war.