THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR:

Hundred Years’ War, intermittent struggle between England and France in the 14-15th century over a series of disputes, including the question of the legitimate succession to the French crown. The struggle involved several generations of English and French claimants to the crown and actually occupied a period of more than 100 years. By convention the war is said to have started on May 24, 1337, with the confiscation of the English-held duchy of Guyenne by French King Philip6. This confiscation, however, had been preceded by periodic fighting over the question of English fiefs in France going back to the 12th century. In the first half of the 14th century, France was the richest, largest, and most populous kingdom of western Europe. It had, moreover, derived immense prestige from the fame and exploits of its monarchs, especially Louis IX, and it had grown powerful through the loyal service given by its administrators and officials. England was the best organized and most closely integrated western European state and the most likely to rival France, because the Holy Roman Empire was paralyzed by deep divisions. In these circumstances, serious conflict between the two countries was perhaps inevitable, but its extreme bitterness and long duration were more surprising. The length of the conflict can be explained, however, by the fact that a basic struggle for supremacy was exacerbated by complicated problems, such as that of English territorial possessions in France and disputed succession to the French throne; it was also prolonged by bitter litigation, commercial rivalry, and greed for plunder.

CAUSES OF HUNDRED YEARS WAR:

The problem of English lands in France

The complicated political relationship existing between France and England in the first half of the 14th century ultimately derived from the position of William the Conqueror, the first sovereign ruler of England who also held fiefs on the continent of Europe as a vassal of the French king. The natural alarm caused to the Capetian kings by their overmighty vassals, the dukes of Normandy, who were also kings of England, was greatly increased in the 1150s. Henry Plantagenet, already duke of Normandy (1150) and count of Anjou (1151), became not only duke of Aquitaine in 1152—by right of his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, recently divorced from Louis VII of France—but also king of England, as Henry II, in 1154.

First Hundred Years’ War,” was ended by the Treaty of Paris between Henry III of England and Louis IX of France, which was finally ratified in December 1259. First Hundred Years’ War,” was ended by the Treaty of Paris between Henry III of England and Louis IX of France, which was finally ratified in December 1259.The duchy was overrun again (1324–25) by the forces of Charles of Valois. Even so, both sides had intermittently been seeking a solution to this troublesome problem. Edward II and Philip V had tried to solve it by the nomination of seneschals or governors for Guyenne who were acceptable to them both, and the appointment of the Genoese Antonio Pessagno and later of Amaury de Craon to this post proved successful for a time. A similar expedient was adopted by the appointment (1325) of Henri de Sully, who held the office of butler in the French royal household and was a friend of Edward II. In the same year, Edward renounced the duchy in favour of his son, the future Edward III. This solution, which avoided the awkwardness of requiring one king to do homage to another, was unfortunately of short duration, because the new duke of Guyenne returned almost immediately to England (September 1326) to dethrone his father (1327).

Published by Ayisha Shabana M…..