The Hundred Years War
By Clayton Whitt and Shay Scott
What was it?
The background of the Hundred Years War went as far back as to the reign of William the Conqueror. When William the Conqueror became king in 1066 after his victory at the Battle of Hastings, he united England with Normandy in France. William ruled both as his own.
Under Henry II, the lands owned by England in France became even larger and the kings who followed Henry found the land they owned in France too large and difficult to control.
In 1328 Charles IV died, leaving only daughters; the nearest male relative was Edward III of England. However, The French nobility felt that the rightful king was to be Charles IV's cousin, Phillip, Count of Valois. This caused a lot of tension between Edward III and Charles and eventually resulted in the Hundred Years War.
The Start of the War
Theoretically, the French kings, possessing the financial and military resources of the most populous and powerful state in Western Europe, held the advantage over the smaller, more sparsely populated English kingdom. However, the expeditionary English army, well disciplined and successfully using their longbows to stop cavalry charges, would prove victorious over much larger French forces.
Battle of Crécy
The Battle of Crécy took place on 26 August in 1346 near Crécy in northern France. It was known as one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years War because of the combination of new weapons and tactics used. All of these factors made Edward III's army powerful, even when outnumbered by the French forces. The English were able to claim the victory for this battle thanks to their advanced weaponry and strategies.
The battle was not decisive,however. The English simply did not have enough resoures to conquer all France.
The Black Death
Battle of Agincourt
In 1415, The Battle of Agincourt occurred near modern-day Azincourt. The heavy armor-plated French knights attempted to attack English forces. Henry V led his troops into battle and participated in hand-to-hand fighting.Much of the terrain had been turned into a difficult mud by the heavy rain.This was a big victory for the English and the French were disastrously defeated. With 1,500 french nobles killed on the battlefield, the English proved themselves to be the masters of Northern France.
Medieval England experienced few revolts but the most serious was the Peasants’ Revolt which took place in June 1381. A violent system of punishments for offenders was usually enough to put off peasants from causing trouble. Most areas in England also had castles in which soldiers were garrisoned, and these were usually enough to guarantee reasonable behaviour among medieval peasants.
An army of peasants from Kent and Essex marched on London. They did something no-one had done before or since - they captured the Tower of London. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the King’s Treasurer were killed. The king, Richard II, was only 14 at the time but despite his youth, he agreed to meet the peasants at a place called Mile End to discuss a solution.