History of the hundred Years War

In 1328, following the sudden extinction of the Capetienne lineage by the unexpected deaths of the 3 sons of Philippe le Bel, the French chose Philippe, the count of Valois, as king rather than Edouard III, the king of England and nephew of the deceased French king.

In january of 1340, in an effort to use his french heritage to bolster his claim to the throne, Edouard III gave himself the title "king of France" and decorated his armaments with the fleur de lys symbol. Shortly thereafter began a series of battles which made enemies of two peoples who had, until that time, remained amicable despite previous disagreements and misunderstandings. These battles were marked by a serie of crushing defeats for the French : Crécy and Calais (1346), Poitiers (1356), and Agincourt (1415).

The 14th century, in general a time of misery in Europe -including the Great Famine of 1315-16 and, above all, the Black Plague of 1348- was also a time of social troubles in France - The Harelle of Rouen, the Tuchins of Auvergne and Languedoc, the Maillotins of Paris.

In 1415 Ferless John, duke of Bourgogne, signed the Pact of Calais with
Henry V of England, by which he recognized the king of England and his descendants as heirs to the French throne.

With Phillippe the Good (son of Fearless John and the new duke of Bourgogne) acting as delegate to the king of France ( Charles VI ) an agreement was signed at Arras on december 2, 1419 by which Henry V would marry Catherine of France, daughter of Charles VI. By this accord, it was undestood that the heritage of Valois would revert to the king of England after the death of his parents-in-law. This agreement, which would effectively eliminate the Prince, was to be ratified and turned into a solemn treaty on
may 2, 1420 at Troyes. France and England would thereafter be united under the English crown : "immediately following our deaths, and from that time forward, the crown and the kingdom of France, with their rights and possessions, will belong perpetually to our son, king Henry, and to his heirs," declared article six of the treaty.

This was, henceforth, the plight of the prince Charles : officially banished, disowned by his own parents and torn from the throne, he took refuge beyond the Loire while his followers dropped in numbers.

The destiny of France thereafter looked assured when the unexpected happened: Henry V, at the age of 36, fell ill and died at Vincennes on
august 31, 1422. Two months later, on october 21, Charles VI absconded to his tower. At the time of the death of Charles VI, the English heir to the throne, Henry VI, was but a baby of 10 months and unfit to be crowned king.

It was during this time that the strange rumors began to circulate : we remember that through the town of Gien passed " a young girl called the Pucelle," assuring that she was in the service of the noble prince to help lift the siege of Orleans and to deliver him to Reims so that he could be crowned king.


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