Hundred Years' War (1337–1360)
The Edwardian War was the first phase of the Hundred Years' War between France and England. It was named after King Edward III of England, who claimed the French throne in defiance of King Philip VI of France; the dynastic conflict was caused by disputes over the French feudal sovereignty over Aquitaine and the English claims over the French royal title. The Kingdom of England and its allies dominated this phase of the war. Edward had inherited the duchy of Aquitaine, as Duke of Aquitaine he was a vassal to Philip VI of France. Edward accepted the succession of Philip, but the relationship between the two kings soured when Philip allied with Edward's enemy, King David II of Scotland. Edward in turn provided refuge to Robert III of a French fugitive; when Edward refused to obey Philip's demands for the expulsion of Robert from England, Philip confiscated the duchy of Aquitaine. This precipitated war, soon, in 1340, Edward declared himself king of France. Edward III and his son Edward the Black Prince, led their armies on a successful campaign across France with notable victories at Auberoche, Crécy, Calais and La Roche-Derrien.
Hostilities were paused in the mid-1350s for the deprivations of the Black Death. War continued, the English were victorious at the Battle of Poitiers where the French king, John II, was captured and held for ransom; the Truce of Bordeaux was signed in 1357 and was followed by two treaties in London in 1358 and 1359. After the treaties of London failed Edward launched the Rheims campaign which, though unsuccessful, led to the Treaty of Brétigny which settled certain lands in France on Edward for renouncing his claim to the French throne; this was in part caused by Black Monday, the freak storm that devastated the English army and forced Edward III into peace talks. This peace lasted nine years; when Charles IV of France died in 1328, the nearest male in line to the throne was Edward III of England. Edward had inherited his right through the sister of the dead king. An assembly of the French aristocracy decided that the nearest heir through male ancestry was Charles IV's first cousin, Count of Valois, that he should be crowned Philip VI.
The establishment of a legal succession to the French crown was central to the war and Edward III and succeeding generations of English monarchs laid claim to it. After some initial reluctance, the seventeen-year-old Edward III paid homage to Philip VI in 1329. Gascony formed the ancestral core of English, incorporated into Aquitaine, it was located in south west France just north of the Pyrenees, the Gascons had their own language and customs. A large proportion of the red wine that they produced, was shipped in a profitable trade with the English; the trade provided the English king with a lot of revenue. The Gascons preferred their relationship with a distant English king who left them alone, to a French king who might interfere in their affairs. Despite Edward's homage to Philip the French continued to interfere in Gascony. There had been a series of skirmishes at some of the walled towns along the Gascon border. Agenais was an area of Gascony in French hands, the officials there put pressure on the English administration.
A chain of religious houses, although in Edward's jurisdiction, had cases held by French officials. Philip contracted with various lords within Gascony to provide troops in the event of war with England. Gascony was not the only issue, in the 1330s France's support for Scotland caused problems for the English. Loyalties in the low countries were split. In Flanders the towns were dependent on supplies of English wool, whereas the aristocracy supported the French king. Another element was that of naval power. Philip had assembled a fleet off Marseilles; these plans were abandoned in 1336 and the fleet moved to the English Channel off Normandy in an obvious act of provocation against the English. One of Edward's influential advisers was Robert III of Artois. Robert was an exile from the French court, having fallen out with Philip VI over an inheritance claim. In November 1336 Philip issued an ultimatum to the seneschal of Gascony threatening that if Robert of Artois was not extradited to France great peril and dissension would follow.
When Philip confiscated the English king's lands in Gascony and the county of Ponthieu the following year, he laid emphasis on the case of Robert of Artois as one of the contributing causes. The confiscation of Gascony by Philip VI precipitated the war in 1337. In response, Edward's strategy was for the English in Gascony to hold their position while his army would invade France from the north; the English forces would be supplemented by a grand alliance of continental supporters whom he promised payment of over £200,000. To pay for the war Edward had to raise large amounts of money for his own forces and his allies on the continent, it was unlikely that the English parliament could raise the requisite sums so in the summer of 1337 a plan was developed to make all the nation's wool stock available to help finance the war. 30,000 sacks would be sold by the English merchants, the sum would be lent to Edward. To pay the fees promised to his allies, Edward was forced to borrow from the great banking houses of Bardi and Peruzzi.
Late in 1338, when he had exhausted the funds from the banking houses, William de la Pole, a wealthy merchant, came to the kings rescue by adv
War of the Breton Succession
The War of the Breton Succession was a conflict between the Counts of Blois and the Montforts of Brittany for control of the Duchy of Brittany. It was fought between 1341 and 12 April 1365; the war formed an integral part of the early Hundred Years' War due to the involvement of the French and English governments in the conflict. The rival kings supported the duke of the principle opposite to their own claims to the French throne—the Plantagenet having claimed it by female succession, the Valois by male succession. Montfort was successful following the Battle of Auray in 1364; the dukes had both a historical and ancestral connection to England and were Earls of Richmond in Yorkshire. Duke Arthur II of Dreux married twice, first to Mary of Limoges to Yolande of Dreux, countess of Montfort and widow of king Alexander III of Scotland. From his first marriage, he had three sons, including his heir John III and Guy, count of Penthièvre. From Yolande, Arthur had another son named John, who became count of Montfort.
John III disliked the children of his father's second marriage. He spent the first years of his reign attempting to have this marriage annulled and his half-siblings bastardized; when this failed, he tried to ensure. Since John III was childless, his heir of choice became Joan of Penthièvre, la Boiteuse, daughter of his younger brother Guy. In 1337 she married Charles of Blois, the second son of a powerful French noble house and son of the sister of King Philip VI of France, but in 1340, John III reconciled himself with his half-brother, made a will that appointed John of Montfort the heir of Brittany. On 30 April 1341, John III died, his last words on the succession, uttered on his deathbed, were, "For God's sake leave me alone and do not trouble my spirit with such things". Most of the nobility supported Charles of Blois, so if John of Montfort was to have any chance, he was dependent upon swift action before organized resistance could be made. John took possession of the ducal capital Nantes and seized the ducal treasury at Limoges.
By the middle of August, John of Montfort was in possession of most of the duchy, including the three principal cities of Nantes and Vannes. Up to this point, the succession crisis had been a purely internal affair, but to complicate things further, the Hundred Years' War between England and France had broken out four years earlier, in 1337. In 1341, there was truce between the two countries, but there was little doubt that hostilities would be renewed when the truce ended in June 1342. Thus, when rumours reached Philip VI of France that John of Montfort had received English agents, the French Crown took a more direct interest in the situation. Charles of Blois became the official French candidate. Whatever had been his original intentions, John of Montfort was now forced to support Edward III of England as King of France. Edward III was bound by the truce not to take any offensive action in France. Nothing in it, hindered France from subduing rebellious vassals. In November, after a short siege and defeat at the Battle of Champtoceaux, John of Montfort was forced to surrender at Nantes by the citizens.
He was offered safe conduct to negotiate a settlement with Charles of Blois, but when this led nowhere he was thrown in prison. It now fell upon Joanna of Flanders, to lead the Montfortist cause. Deeming her possessions in the east undefendable, she set up headquarters at Hennebont in western Brittany but was driven into Brest and besieged, the siege being broken by the arrival of an English army under the Earl of Northampton at the naval battle of Brest. In Paris it was feared; the major part of the French army was therefore withdrawn, Charles of Blois was left to pursue his claim on his own. Charles soon proved himself to be an able soldier: Rennes and Vannes were taken and many of the Montfortist captains defected. In late November, Edward III arrived with his army at Brest, he at once marched against Vannes. The siege dragged on and a French army was assembled to meet him, but on 19 January 1343, before any major engagements could be fought, the two kings agreed upon a new truce. Vannes was taken into papal custody.
With John of Montfort in prison, his son an infant, his wife gone mad, the places under Montfortist control were in practice administered from London, with a large permanent English garrison at Brest. The truce was to last until 29 September 1346 with the hopes that in the meantime the disputes between the two kingdoms could be permanently settled, but in Brittany it made little difference; the truce bound the two kings and their followers, but Charles of Blois claimed to be fighting his own separate war and was therefore not bound by any truce. The brutal small-scale fighting continued at the same pace. In Paris, John of Montfort was released from prison 1 September 1343 in return for a huge bond and a promise to stay on his estates in the east; the English coastal garrisons held firm. They had some successes, such as the expulsion of the papal custodians from Vannes, but with no unifying leadership they were reduced to pleading for men and money from London. To hamper communication between Brest and Vannes, Charles of Blois laid siege to Quimper in early March 1344.
The city fell by assault on 1 May and, as usual at that time, this meant the slaughter of civilians in huge numbers, estimated between 1400 and 2000. The English prisoners were held for ransom, but the Breton and Norman captives
Duchy of Brittany
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the English Channel to the north, it was less definitively bordered by the Loire River to the south, Normandy and other French provinces to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939; the Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict. Henry II of England invaded Brittany in the mid-12th century and became Count of Nantes in 1158 under a treaty with Duke Conan IV. Henry's son, became Duke through his marriage to Constance, the hereditary Duchess; the Angevins remained in control until the collapse of their empire in northern France in 1204.
The French Crown maintained its influence over the Duchy for the rest of the 13th century. Monastic orders supported by the Breton aristocracy spread across the Duchy in the 11th and 12th centuries, in the 13th, the first of the mendicant orders established themselves in Brittany's major towns. Civil war broke out in the 14th century, as rival claimants for the Duchy vied for power during the Breton War of Succession, with different factions supported by England and France; the independent sovereign nature of the Duchy began to come to an end upon the death of Francis II in 1488. The Duchy was inherited by his daughter, but King Charles VIII of France had her existing marriage annulled and married her himself; as a result, the King of France acquired the title of Duke of Brittany - jure uxoris. The Ducal crown became united with the French crown in 1532 through a vote of the Estates of Brittany, after the death of Queen Claude of France, the last sovereign duchess, her sons Francis III, Duke of Brittany and Henry II of France would in any case have created a personal union on the death of their father.
Following the French Revolution, as a result of the various republican forms of French government since 1792, the duchy was replaced by the French system of départements which continues under the Fifth Republic of France. In modern times the departments have joined into administrative regions although the administrative region of Brittany does not encompass the entirety of the medieval duchy; the Duchy of Brittany that emerged in the early 10th century was influenced by several earlier polities. Prior to the expansion of the Roman Empire into the region, Gallic tribes had occupied the Armorican peninsula, dividing it into five regions that formed the basis for the Roman administration of the area, which survived into the period of the Duchy; these Gallic tribes – termed the Armorici in Latin – had close relationships with the Britonnes tribes in Roman Britain. Between the late 4th and the early 7th centuries, many of these Britonnes migrated to the Armorican peninsula, blending with the local people to form the Britons, who became the Bretons.
The reasons for these migrations remain uncertain. These migrations from Britain contributed to Brittany's name. Brittany fragmented into small, warring regna, each competing for resources; the Frankish Carolingian Empire conquered the region during the 8th century, starting around 748 taking the whole of Brittany by 799. The Carolingians tried to create a unitary administration around the centres of Rennes and Vannes using the local rulers, but the kings of Brittany's hold on the region remained tenuous. Carolingian technology and culture began to influence Brittany, the church in Brittany began to emulate the Frankish model; the greatest influence on the Duchy, was the formation of a unitary Brittany kingdom in the 9th century. In 831 Louis the Pious appointed Nominoe, the Count of Vannes, ruler of the Bretons, imperial missus, at Ingelheim in 831. After the death of Louis in 840, Nominoe rose to challenge the new emperor, Charles the Bald, emboldened in part by new Viking raids on the empire.
Charles the Bald created the Marches of Neustria to defend Western Francia from the Bretons and the Vikings. Erispoe fought Charles the Bald, who felt that a quick attack would challenge the new Breton leader. Erispoe won a victory at the Battle of Jengland and, under their Treaty of Angers in 851, Brittany's independence was secured; the new kingdom collapsed under Viking attack. In 853 the Viking Godfried left the Seine with his fleet, sailed around the Breton peninsula and sacked Nantes. Erispoe entered into an alliance with the leader of another Viking fleet, who betrayed him, resulting in Erispoe's defeat at the hands of the Vikings. A weakened Erispoe ruled until 857 when he was assassinated and followed as Breton ruler by his cousin and rival, the Count of Rennes and Nantes. Viking raids continued. Alan I defeated one wave of Vikings around 900, expanding the kingdom to include not only the Breton territories of Léon, Domnonée, the Vannetais, but the Frankish counties of Rennes, Nantes and Avranches, as well as the western parts of Poitou and Anjou.
Alan I's military success resulted in a period of peace from Viking invasions and few raids from the Vikings were recorded from 900 through to 907. After Alan I's death in 907, Brittany was overrun once again by Vikings. Fulk the Red, Count of Anjou, is said to have occupied Nantes from 907 to 919 when he abandoned it to the invading Vikings. In 919, the
War of the Two Peters
The War of the Two Peters was fought from 1356 to 1375 between the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. Its name refers to Peter of Castile and Peter IV of Aragon. One historian has written that "all of the centuries-old lessons of border fighting were used as two evenly matched opponents dueled across frontiers that could change hands with lightning speed." At the beginning of the fourteenth century, Castile was suffering from unrest caused by its civil war, fought between the local and allied forces of the reigning king, Peter of Castile, his half-brother Henry of Trastámara over the right to the crown. Peter IV of Aragon supported Henry of Trastámara. Henry was, in turn, supported by the French commander Bertrand du Guesclin and his "free companies" of troops. Peter of Castile was supported by the English; the War of the Two Peters can thus be considered an extension of the wider Hundred Years' War as well as the Castilian Civil War. Peter of Castile sought to claim the Kingdom of Valencia, which included parts of Murcia, Elche and Orihuela.
Peter of Aragon wished to dominate the Mediterranean in opposition to Castile and Castile's ally Genoa. A naval incident between the two powers had caused tension: Catalan galleys, armed by Mossèn Francesc de Perellós, who had letters of marque from the Aragonese king, aided France against England, managed to capture two Genoese ships at Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Genoa was an ally of Castile. Peter of Castile, leading the Castilian fleet, caught up to Perellós at Tavira but was unable to capture him; the war lasted from 1356 to 1375, prolonged because Peter of Castile lost his throne to Henry of Trastámara. The war took place on the border between Castile and Aragon, namely Aragonese border towns such as Teruel, which fell to the Castilians. In 1357, Castile penetrated Aragon and conquered Tarazona on March 9. At the beginning of 1361, the Castilians conquered the fortresses of Verdejo, Torrijos and other places. However, the peace of Terrer was negotiated on May 18, 1361, in which all conquered places and castles were returned to their original lords.
Bernardo de Cabrera, ambassador of the Aragonese king, negotiated the peace. Peter IV married his daughter Constance to Frederick III the Simple. In June 1362, Peter of Castile met with Charles II of Navarre at Soria, mutual aid was promised. Peter contracted an alliance with Edward III of England and Edward's son The Black Prince. With these negotiations complete, the Castilian king invaded Aragonese territory without declaring war, the conflict commenced again; the Aragonese king was at Perpignan without troops, thus caught off guard. The Castilians took the castles of Arize, Terrer, Moros and Alhama. Peter of Castile was unable to take Calatayud though he attacked it with all types of siege machines. Without taking his conquests any further, he returned to Seville. In 1363 Castile continued the war against Aragon, again occupied Tarazona. Peter of Castile received reinforcements from Navarre. Meanwhile, the Aragonese king negotiated a treaty with France and a secret treaty with Henry II of Castile.
Pedro of Castile conquered Cariñena, Segorbe, Almenara and Bunyol. The papal nuncio Jean de la Grange arranged the peace of Morvedre between the two kings; the peace was not ratified and hostilities continued. The Castilians penetrated the Kingdom of Valencia in 1363, conquered Alicante, Elda and other places. From 1365 to 1369 Peter of Castile was preoccupied with maintaining his position on the Castilian throne against Henry of Trastámara; the Castilian Civil War began in 1366 and Peter of Castile was dethroned. He was assailed by his illegitimate brother Henry of Trastámara at the head of a host of soldiers of fortune, including Bertrand du Guesclin and Hugh Calveley. Peter abandoned the kingdom without daring to give battle, after retreating several times in the face of the oncoming armies. Peter fled with his treasury to Portugal, where he was coldly received by his uncle, King Peter I of Portugal, thence to Galicia, in northern Spain, where he ordered the murder of Suero, the archbishop of Santiago, the dean, Perálvarez.
Peter of Castile was overthrown in 1369. The Kingdom of Granada supported Peter of Castile in the War of the Two Peters. Castilian troops and their Moorish allies invaded southern Valencia, which suffered low-level ravaging and political instability; the Castilians unsuccessfully laid siege to Orihuela in 1364. The war ended with the Peace of Almazán, in 1375, leaving no clear victor. Castile recovered comarcas, such as the lordship of Molina. A marriage was contracted between Eleanor of Aragon, daughter of Peter IV of Aragon, John I of Castile, the successor of Henry II of Castile; the misery of the war was compounded by the Black Death and other natural disasters, such as drought and a plague of locusts. These events ruined the Aragonese economy; the cathedral of Tarazona was destroyed during the war and not rebuilt until much later. However, the war is believed to have led to the establishment of administrative and military forces that would result in a unified Castile and Aragon in the next century
Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War
The Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War was a conflict between two cadet branches of the French royal family — the House of Orléans and the House of Burgundy from 1407 to 1435. It began during a lull in the Hundred Years' War against the English and overlapped with the Western Schism of the papacy; the leaders of both parties were related to the French king through the male line. For this reason, they were called "princes of blood", exerted much influence on the affairs of the kingdom of France, their rivalries and disputes for control of the government would serve as much of the basis for the conflict. The Orléans branch of the family referred to as House of Valois-Orléans, stemmed from Louis I, Duke of Orléans, younger son of King Charles V of France; the House of Valois-Burgundy originated from Charles V's youngest brother, Philip the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy. Both their respective namesake duchies of Orléans and Burgundy were held in the status of appanage, as none of its holders were first in the line of succession to the French throne.
The war's causes were rooted in the reign of Charles VI of France and a confrontation between two different economic and religious systems. On the one hand was France strong in agriculture, with a strong feudal and religious system, on the other was England, a country whose rainy climate favoured pasture and sheep farming and where artisans, the middle classes and cities were important; the Burgundians were in favour of the English model. In the same way, the Western Schism induced the election of an Armagnac-backed antipope based at Avignon, Pope Clement VII, opposed by the English-backed pope of Rome, Pope Urban VI. With Charles VI mentally ill, from 1393, his wife Isabeau of Bavaria presided over a regency counsel, on which sat the grandees of the kingdom; the uncle of Charles VI, Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who acted as regent during the king's minority, was a great influence on the queen. This influence progressively shifted to Louis I, Duke of Orléans, the king's brother, it was suspected, the queen's lover.
On the death of Philip the Bold, his son John the Fearless again lost influence at court. The other uncle of Charles VI, Duke of Berry, served as a mediator between the Orléans party and the Burgundy party, whose rivalry would increase bit by bit and in the end, result in a true civil war. To oppose the territorial expansion of the Dukedom of Burgundy, the Duke of Orléans acquired Luxembourg in 1402. While Louis of Orléans, getting 90% of his income from the royal treasury, bought lands and strongholds in the eastern marches of the kingdom that the Burgundians considered their private hunting ground, John the Fearless saw royal largess towards him drying up; the Duke of Orléans, son-in-law of Gian Galeazzo Visconti and holding the title for more or less hypothetical fiefdoms in the peninsula, wanted to let Charles VI intervene militarily in his favor. What is more, it seems he wanted to let the Anglo-French truce break down so far as provoking Henry IV of England to a duel, which John the Fearless could not allow, since Flemish industry depended on imported English wool and would have been ruined by an embargo on English goods.
The quarrel at first respected all forms of courtesy: John the Fearless adopted the nettle as his emblem, whilst Louis of Orléans chose the gnarled stick and the duke of Burgundy the plane or rabot. The king's brother, Louis of Orléans, "who whinnied like a stallion after all the beautiful women", was accused of having wanted to seduce or worse, "esforcier", Margaret of Bavaria, the duchess of Burgundy. Moreover, if it was only a rumor, this seducer was – as Burgundian propaganda ran – the queen's lover and the real father of Charles, the future Charles VII. Louis was close to the queen and benefited from the benevolence of his brother the king, whenever he was out of crisis. Ousted from power and toyed with by Louis, this was too much for John the Fearless. Taking advantage of rising anger among the taxpayers, always under pressure in peacetime, noting that their taxes serve to finance court festivities, John began to campaign for support, financing demagoguery, he thus won over the small people and the university.
John threatened Paris in 1405 with a demonstration of his power, but this did not prove sufficient to restore his influence. He thus decided to get rid of his exasperating rival, having him murdered on rue Vieille du Temple in Paris on 23 November 1407, whilst he was leaving the queen's residence at Hôtel Barbette, a few days after she had given birth to her twelfth child. Thomas de Courteheuse sent word to Louis that the king, Charles VI of France, urgently needed him at hôtel Saint-Paul. Leaving the Hôtel Barbette, Louis was stabbed by fifteen masked criminals led by Raoulet d'Anquetonville, a servant of the Duke of Burgundy. Louis's escort of valets and guards were powerless to protect him. John had the support of Paris's population and university, whom he had won over by promising the establishment of an ordinance like that of 135
Battle of Agincourt
The Battle of Agincourt was one of the greatest English victories in the Hundred Years' War. It took place on 25 October 1415 near Azincourt in northern France. England's unexpected victory against a numerically superior French army boosted English morale and prestige, crippled France, started a new period in the war during which the English began enjoying great military successes. After several decades of relative peace, the English had renewed their war effort in 1415 amid the failure of negotiations with the French. In the ensuing campaign, many soldiers died due to disease and the English numbers dwindled. Despite the disadvantage, the following battle ended in an overwhelming tactical victory for the English. King Henry V of England participated in hand-to-hand fighting. King Charles VI of France did not command the French army himself, as he suffered from severe psychotic illnesses with moderate mental incapacitation. Instead, the French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party.
This battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in large numbers, with the English and Welsh archers making up nearly 80 percent of Henry's army. Agincourt is one of England's most celebrated victories and was one of the most important English triumphs in the Hundred Years' War, along with the Battle of Crécy and Battle of Poitiers, it forms the centrepiece of the play Henry V by William Shakespeare. The Battle of Agincourt is well documented by at least seven contemporary accounts, three from eyewitnesses; the approximate location of the battle has never been in dispute and the place remains unaltered after 600 years. After the battle, Henry summoned the heralds of the two armies who had watched the battle together with principal French herald Montjoie, they settled on the name of the battle as Azincourt after the nearest fortified place. Two of the most cited accounts come from Burgundian sources, one from Jean Le Fèvre de Saint-Remy, present at the battle, the other from Enguerrand de Monstrelet.
The English eyewitness account comes from the anonymous Gesta Henrici Quinti, believed to be written by a chaplain in the King's household who would have been in the baggage train at the battle. A recent re-appraisal of Henry's strategy of the Agincourt campaign incorporates these three accounts and argues that war was seen as a legal due process for solving the disagreement over claims to the French throne. Henry V invaded France following the failure of negotiations with the French, he claimed the title of King of France through his great-grandfather Edward III, although in practice the English kings were prepared to renounce this claim if the French would acknowledge the English claim on Aquitaine and other French lands. He called a Great Council in the spring of 1414 to discuss going to war with France, but the lords insisted that he should negotiate further and moderate his claims. In the following negotiations Henry said that he would give up his claim to the French throne if the French would pay the 1.6 million crowns outstanding from the ransom of John II, concede English ownership of the lands of Normandy, Anjou and Flanders, as well as Aquitaine.
Henry would marry Catherine, the young daughter of Charles VI, receive a dowry of 2 million crowns. The French responded with what they considered the generous terms of marriage with Catherine, a dowry of 600,000 crowns, an enlarged Aquitaine. By 1415, negotiations had ground to a halt, with the English claiming that the French had mocked their claims and ridiculed Henry himself. In December 1414, the English parliament was persuaded to grant Henry a "double subsidy", a tax at twice the traditional rate, to recover his inheritance from the French. On 19 April 1415, Henry again asked the Great Council to sanction war with France, this time they agreed. Henry's army landed in northern France on 13 August 1415, carried by a fleet described by Shakespeare as "a city on the inconstant billows dancing / For so appears this fleet majestical", it was reported to comprise 1,500 ships, but far smaller. The army of about 12,000, up to 20,000 horses besieged the port of Harfleur; the siege took longer than expected.
The town surrendered on 22 September, the English army did not leave until 8 October. The campaign season was coming to an end, the English army had suffered many casualties through disease. Rather than retire directly to England for the winter, with his costly expedition resulting in the capture of only one town, Henry decided to march most of his army through Normandy to the port of Calais, the English stronghold in northern France, to demonstrate by his presence in the territory at the head of an army that his right to rule in the duchy was more than a mere abstract legal and historical claim, he intended the manoeuvre as a deliberate provocation to battle aimed at the dauphin, who had failed to respond to Henry's personal challenge to combat at Harfleur. The French had raised an army during the siege; this was not a feudal army, but an army paid through a system similar to the English. The French hoped to raise 9,000 troops. After Henry V marched to the north, the French moved to block them along the River Somme.
They were successful for a time, forcing Henry to move south, away from Calais, to find a ford
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. The only child of Henry V, he succeeded to the English throne at the age of nine months upon his father's death, succeeded to the French throne on the death of his maternal grandfather Charles VI shortly afterwards. Henry inherited the long-running Hundred Years' War, in which his uncle Charles VII contested his claim to the French throne, he is the only English monarch to have been crowned King of France, in 1431. His early reign, when several people were ruling for him, saw the pinnacle of English power in France, but subsequent military and economic problems had endangered the English cause by the time Henry was declared fit to rule in 1437, he found his realm in a difficult position, faced with setbacks in France and divisions among the nobility at home. Unlike his father, Henry is described as timid, passive, well-intentioned, averse to warfare and violence, his ineffective reign saw the gradual loss of the English lands in France.
In the hope of achieving peace, in 1445 Henry married Charles VII's niece, the ambitious and strong-willed Margaret of Anjou. The peace policy failed, leading to the murder of one of Henry's key advisers, the war recommenced, with France taking the upper hand; as the situation in France worsened, there was a related increase in political instability in England. With Henry unfit to rule, power was exercised by quarrelsome nobles, while factions and favourites encouraged the rise of disorder in the country. Regional magnates and soldiers returning from France formed and maintained increasing numbers of private armed retainers, with which they fought one another, terrorised their neighbors, paralysed the courts, dominated the government. Queen Margaret did not remain unpartisan, took advantage of the situation to make herself an effective power behind the throne. Amidst military disasters in France and a collapse of law and order in England, the queen and her clique came under criticism, coming from Henry VI's popular cousin Richard of the House of York, of misconduct of the war in France and misrule of the country.
Starting in 1453, Henry began suffering a series of mental breakdowns, tensions mounted between Margaret and Richard of York over control of the incapacitated king's government, over the question of succession to the throne. Civil war broke out in 1455, leading to a long period of dynastic conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. Henry was deposed on 29 March 1461 after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Towton by Richard's son, who took the throne as Edward IV. Despite Margaret continuing to lead a resistance to Edward, he was captured by Edward's forces in 1465 and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Henry was restored to the throne in 1470, but Edward retook power in 1471, killing Henry's only son and heir in battle and imprisoning Henry once again. Having "lost his wits, his two kingdoms, his only son", Henry died in the Tower during the night of 21 May killed on the orders of Edward. Miracles were attributed to Henry after his death, he was informally regarded as a saint and martyr until the 16th century.
He left a legacy of educational institutions, having founded Eton College, King's College and All Souls College, Oxford. Shakespeare wrote a trilogy of plays about his life, depicting him as weak-willed and influenced by his wife, Margaret. Henry was the only child and heir of King Henry V, he was born on 6 December 1421 at Windsor Castle. He succeeded to the throne as King of England at the age of nine months on 1 September 1422, the day after his father's death. A few weeks on 21 October 1422 in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes of 1420, he became titular King of France upon his grandfather Charles VI's death, his mother, Catherine of Valois, was 20 years old. As Charles VI's daughter, she was viewed with considerable suspicion by English nobles and was prevented from playing a full role in her son's upbringing. On 28 September 1423, the nobles swore loyalty to Henry VI, not yet two years old, they summoned Parliament in the King's name and established a regency council to govern until the King should come of age.
One of Henry V's surviving brothers, Duke of Bedford, was appointed senior regent of the realm and was in charge of the ongoing war in France. During Bedford's absence, the government of England was headed by Henry V's other surviving brother, Duke of Gloucester, appointed Lord Protector and Defender of the Realm, his duties were limited to summoning Parliament. Henry V's half-uncle Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, had an important place on the Council. After the Duke of Bedford died in 1435, the Duke of Gloucester claimed the Regency himself, but was contested in this by the other members of the Council. From 1428, Henry's tutor was Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, whose father had been instrumental in the opposition to Richard II's reign. Henry's half-brothers and Jasper, the sons of his widowed mother and Owen Tudor, were given earldoms. Edmund Tudor was the father of Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII. In reaction to Charles VII's coronation as French King in Reims Cathedral on 17 July 1429, Henry was soon crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on 6 November 1429, followed by his own coronation as King of France at Notre Dame de Paris on 16 December 1431, at age 10.
He was the only English king to be crow