The useless, boring, nerve wrecking, futile Hundred Years War (1337 – 1453) was between the rival kingdoms of England and France. The cause of this ridiculous war was a feud over the land of Aquitane, France. The English ruled Aquitane but because it was located in France, the English had to pay allegiance to the French monarch. They refused to do so.
The English king, Edward III, also laid a claim to the throne of France. He argued that his mother was the daughter of the French king, Philip IV. Therefore he was the grandson of Philip IV. However, the French refuted this by saying that because Edward’s lineage was through a woman, it was illegitimate.
Finally, the French and English kings decided upon war, as the nobles thought it was the best and easiest method of gaining the rival’s kingdom. So the House of Plantagenet (English) and the House of Valois (French) embarked upon a war that would last over a hundred years.
Four of the major battles of this incredibly one-sided war were:
- Agincourt in 1415. An English victory
- Crècy in 1346. An English victory where the French army was on horseback and the English had longbows.
- Poitiers in 1356. English victory. The French king, John the Good, was captured.
- Battle of Orleans: Joan of Arc leads French army and the French, morally boosted, take the long-fought-for victory.
Joan of Arc was the spirited, faithful and brave young woman who led the French armies for two years in the Hundred Years War. However, the cruel French king abandoned her after the war and she was burned at the stake as a heretic. She is honored as a saint and her legend of heroism should live on to inspire soldiers today.
At last, in 1453 the Pope wrote a treaty to end the futile war. The English gained nothing, only a French province called Calais. However, from now on the English and French fates were entwined more deeply than ever.