The Gascony, and a succession crisis in the

The Hundred Years war had multiple causes and effects.

Causes include territory disputes, particularly in Gascony, and a succession crisis in the French House of Capet. This succession crisis began when Isabella, the daughter of Philip IV of France married Edward II of England. They had one son who was Edward III of England. Isabella’s brothers died without leaving a male heir. They only had daughters who were skipped in the line of succession because they were women. This resulted in the succession crisis in 1328. The ruling house of Capet left no heir. Isabella and Edward II’s son, Edward III, had the strongest claim to the French throne through Isabella.

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This was because as a woman, Isabella could not rule but could still pass the royal blood males that could rule. Unfortunate for Edward III, many were opposed to him as ruler. He was a minor and foreigner at the time, and was in line to become king of England through his father’s lineage. Instead, Philip VI was chosen. He was the grandson of Philip III, the nephew of Philip IV and a cousin of Isabella. Philip VI’s reign began a new dynasty known as the house of Valois. The house of Capet had ended.

Philip VI then declared Edward III a recalcitrant vassal. A recalcitrant vassal is a rebellious French magnate. Being declared this allowed the French monarchy to legally seize one’s property. This happened three times in Gascony, and to Edward III when he owned it. Prior to Edward III’s ownership of Gascony, Eleanor of Aquitaine had ownership and brought the land into her marriage to the house of Anjou. This confiscation by Philip VI in 1337 caused a feud between him and his cousin. Edward III reacted by declaring himself king of France. He argued that Philip had took advantage of him because he was so young during the succession crisis.

This conflict began the Hundred years war that involved both the English parliament (governing body) and the French parlement (governing body). There were several events that took place throughout the war. Edward III had an aggressive military strategy he used throughout the first twenty three years. He practiced ruthless slaughter designed to devastate areas. He practiced raids known as chevauchées and his goal was to deplete France’s resources and force them to negotiate with him. During Edward’s phase of the war, the Battle of Crécy occurred. Here he had an English victory, the first of three. Next came the Battle of Poitiers.

This battle was fought ten years after the Battle of Crécy, and was led by King John of France, who was confident of victory. Unfortunately for him, he was captured by the English and put in the Tower of London. In France, next came the Jacquerie Revolt. This was a peasant revolt in 1358 that took place in northern France in the early summer.

Another uprising in came from the weavers of Ghent, who revolted in distaste of Philip the Good’s taxation proposal. Taxation justification came from the estates general during this time. We can assume the weavers were not satisfied and their revolt led France to declare war on them and they were defeated by the French royal army at the Battle of Rozebeke. Other background ruckus that occurred alongside the smaller battles and revolts came from the free companies.

These were independent bands of soldiers that roamed, attacked, and burned villages, castles, and fields. This happened in the countryside.The last major English victory occurred at the Battle of Agincourt, almost fifty years following the Battle of Poitiers. Soon after, Charles VII, great grandson of Philip VI, became King of the French throne. During his reign, Joan of Arc said she received visions of religious figures instructing her to support Charles VII and aid France in the war.

This reinforced national identity and stirred up everything. The effects of Hundred Years War included deaths, compromised political authority in France, and changes taxation. France seemed to suffer more. Some leaders in their army turned in opposition of the ruler. They killed civilians and destroyed buildings. Many areas became depleted with a loss of population France had to instill taxes to try and rebuild.

On the contrary, England began the war with more money and although it was quickly spent and they lost territories in France, some were able to benefit from France’s worse condition. England had a period of quick rebuilding.One can see that throughout the war there was a great deal of national identity, but national identity in France and England differed greatly. In regards to monarchs, the English held the idea that the political community was separate from the monarchy. They had a system of tradition among landowners and defended their property rights themselves. This limited monarchical power in England. In France, the monarchy was all that united the separate counties.

Additionally, reform in France gave the people a system of checks and balances that allowed them to feel more comfortable under the monarchy’s power. Lastly, Joan of Arc’s visions stimulated national identity. This gave support to the house of the Valois monarchy. Overall, as it pertains to monarchs, the French centered more closely around the institution of the monarchy, while English national identity was separate from the king.

Author: Debbie Hodges


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