100 Years War, France And England

2174 words - 9 pages

The definition of the Golden Rule is that those with the gold make the rules. Inother words, those with the gold have the power as well as those with the power have thegold. History books will discuss the general reasons for war such as freedom fromadversity or freedom from religion. But the real issue for any war is the thirst for powerand control; and the means to finance them are the economic issues.Nations will endure years of fighting for power and control. France and Englandfought each other for more than a hundred years to have control of the Channel traderoutes. 1 This century of warring was known as The Hundred Years' War and is thelongest war in record history. It began in 1337 when King Edward III invaded Normandyand ended in 1453 when France won the Battle of Bordeaux. However, it was not ahundred years of constant battle; there were periods of truces in between. 2One cause for the Hundred Years' War was the claim to the French throne. Theconflict began when the direct line of succession died without a male heir and the noblesdecided to pass the crown to a cousin, Philip of Valois. But this left two other malecousins equally deserving of the crown; Charles, King of Navarre and Edward III, King ofEngland. 3 Edward III claimed that he himself was deserving of the throne because hismother was the sister of the late French king, while Philip VI was only a cousin. Butaccording to French law, no women could inherit the throne, nor could the crown beinherited through a woman. 4'Philip of Valois chances of becoming King of France had been remote and he hadnot been brought up as the future lieutenant of God on Earth. Philip VI spent much of hisresources on entertainment and finery with gay abandon.' 5 This caused conflict with theking's subjects. Since the king was considered to be sacred and inviolable, neither cousinwould challenge Philip VI. However, they would exploit the situation and King EdwardIII lost no time and invaded Normandy with an army of 10,000men. 6This leads to another cause for The Hundred Years' War. The land along theChannel and Atlantic coasts was England's first line of defense against an invasion.England held claim to this territory from the twelth century through the marriage of KingHenry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. King Edward III was determined to gain control ofthe French coastline while providing himself with a bridgehead for future expeditions intoFrance. 7But the major cause of The Hundred Years' War was the economic interest - therevenues to be gotten from this rich territory. Wine was Gasgony's largest export productand major source of income to the vassal. Wool was England's largest export product andthe source of its wealth. English pastures produced fleeces that were the envy of Europewhich Flanders depended on for its wool and linen market. 8 English sheep growers soldtheir long fine wool to weavers in Flanders, across the English Channel. Flemish weaversas well as English sheep growers depended on this...

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