The Hundred Years War

The Hundred Years War

The Hundred Years War consisted of a period of wars which took place between the English and French, originated back to William the Conqueror’s reign.

After William became king in 1066 thanks to his Battle of Hastings victory, he combined England with Normandy (France) and overruled both of them as his own.

The lands owned in France by the English under Henry II grew even bigger, and the kings following Henry felt the French land they owned was too large and hard to control. So by 1327 when Edward III was on the throne, England only had control of Gascony in southern France and Ponthieu in the north.

Charles IV of France died in 1328 - he did not have any sons to inherit his land and his brothers were all dead. However, he had a sister, Isabella who was Edward III’s mother. Edward felt for this reason he should be the French king, but France decided that one of Charles’ cousins, Philip, should be made king.

Photo montage of the Hundred Years War
Photo montage of the Hundred Years War

Edward was very angry but not able to do anything about it back then. But by 1337 he was prepared to fight for what he felt was rightfully his and pronounced war on Philip. Edward was also worried Philip would act as a threat to his possessions in France.

It was Edward’s responsibility to raise up an army, but it was difficult to find men willing to fight - normally they were keen to fight abroad to steal treasure and bring goods back to England which gave them opportunities for wealth, but in the autumn they were focused on their farming for the harvest.

Feudalism meant knights needed to provide the king with soldiers whenever he ordered them. War had progressed from the Battle of Hastings and now longbow was considered the most fearsome weapon, rather than a knight on a horse - so the king’s officials travelled England to search for talented archers. These were readily available as essentially all males in medieval villages practiced archery.

Armies were costly and they were even more expensive to oversee when having to fight abroad. This could be solved by requesting that a local French area under your control paid you a ‘tribute’ - keeping your costs down. In return, the area involved would be given a promise that the troops would remain disciplined and not inflict damage on homes, take crops or kill animals. So in this context if you paid for a tribune you were effectively buying protection.

See also:

1066

The Battle of Hastings 1066

MLA Citation/Reference

"The Hundred Years War". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.