The beginning of the Hundred Years War

The beginning of the Hundred Years War

After the death of Philip IV the Beautiful, the French throne belonged to three of his sons for 15 years. However, none of them left their heirs, and in 1328 the rule of the Capetian dynasty ceased. On the throne, the representative of her younger branch, Philip VI Valois, ascended. The British King Edward III also presented his claims to the French crown. He was the son of the daughter of Philip IV the Beautiful Princess Isabella, wife of the English King Edward II. To deny Edward III, French grandees turned to “Salic Truth.” The right of customs made it impossible for the daughter and her descendants to participate in the division of the father’s inheritance.

The dynastic claims of Edward III became the official reason for the outbreak of the war between England

and France, which historians later called the Hundred Years. It lasted intermittently from 1337 to 1453. The real reasons for this endless military confrontation were much deeper and were explained by long-standing Anglo-French territorial contradictions: France sought to eliminate British rule in Guyana, both countries wanted to own Flanders.

In 1337, Philip VI announced the accession of Gieny to his domain, accusing Edward III and the failure to fulfill his vassal obligations. Edward III declared war on France. However, the British began military operations in 1340, almost destroying the French fleet at Cape Slice. In this battle, the French lost 200 ships and two admirals. The British, according to the chronicler, were sufficiently disparagingly joked: “If the Lord gave the fish a gift to speak, she would speak French, because she ate a lot of French people.”

After this victory, the English king suffered hostilities on land. His army captured Normandy and headed to Flanders to launch an offensive against Paris. The basis of the British army was well-trained hired infantry, the pride of which were deft arrow archers. Of their nearly two-meter, but relatively light bows, they let out six arrows a minute. These arrows punched knightly armor at a distance of about 200 meters. The French army marched to the north-east

to meet the English at the borders of Flanders. Almost all of the French army consisted of scattered knight detachments commanded by the lords. French mercenary infantrymen were armed with crossbows, which in a minute produced no more than four arrows.

In 1346 the British and French armies met in the battle near the city of Crecy. French knights were mired in the swamp and became an easy target for English archers. In the battle, 1,500 French knights died and only three English knights died. After the victory at Crecy, the English king led his army to the town of Calais, an important port on the northern coast of France. But the residents fiercely resisted the enemy’s numerous troops. And only after a 12-month siege the British took over the city.

The inhabitants of Calais infuriated the English king. He demanded the execution of the six most respected citizens. Only this way it was possible to save the city from robbery and massacres. And six brave men agreed to accept death. The wife of Edward III, Queen Philip, begged mercy for them on her knees. Despite this, the massacre of the townspeople was brutal. They were ordered to leave the city immediately, which was immediately settled by the British. The port of Calais became a reliable support of England on the continent.

The situation in France was critical. The situation was complicated by the plague epidemic of the late 40s of the 14th century, which took the lives of more soldiers than perished on the battlefields. In the fall of 1356, the successor of Philip VI, French King John II Good of G. Poitier joined the battle with the son of the English King Edward, who for the color of the armor was called the Black Prince. Having a chance to win, the French were defeated and lost about 6 thousand soldiers. King John II Good and his youngest son Philip were captured by the English.


The beginning of the Hundred Years War