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England And France: The War Of A Hundred Years

1633 words - 7 pages

In the time of knights and kings, known as the Middle Ages, one of the only ways to acquire power was through the social standing of one's family. Of course, if you were to have siblings there would be some contest over who acquires what in the event of the passing of a family member. This kind of argument is the base for which The Hundreds Years' War began, with the death of the French king Charles IV in 1328. Edward III, duke of Guyenne and the count of Ponithieu; provinces in France. After Charles IV's death Edward III claimed the throne of France, stating that because he had no sons and his mother was Charles IV's sister, he had succession rights. The "War" officially started when Edward III brought an army to the French province of Flanders and took the holding.
War in the Middle Ages "involved pitched battles that could be decisive" (Hundred Years War, 4) and "costly sieges against important fortified cities," (Hundred Years War, 4). These tactics were standard up until the beginning of the Hundred Years War, where the English, still under the command of Edward III, "began using the Welsh Longbow in massive numbers to decimate opposing armies" (Hundred Years War, 11) before they could reach them. This gave the English a tactical and technological advantage over the French for most of the war. Welch Longbow exceeded in long range, hence the name, and could fire an arrow up to 345 yards away allowing for a skilled marksman to kill a target without the fear of anyone ever touching him. It also allowed the English to snipe other bowmen in enemy battlements, letting the sword wielding troops advance without taking fire. This along with a plethora of excellent commanders, including Prince Edward allowed England to sweep through France in the first part of the war.
The English tactics advantage was, however, but a small part of the Hundred Years war as a whole. When Charles V became the King of France, he was confronted with the daunting task of commanding a France without and effective army or any money, as he was "literally forced to pay a king's ransom to England," (Hundred Years War, 31). On top of that "most of the countryside was overrun with gangs of unemployed mercenaries, who were little more than bandits." (Hundred Years War, 31). After a long while Charles IV stabilized France and reigned in the Dukedom of Brittany, who was attempting to become an independent nation. To attempt to quell the situation Charles IV "instituted a strict system of taxation designed to fill the royal treasury" (Hundred Years War, 35) this allowed the mercenaries that were terrorizing the countryside roaming to be, once again, employed. With the situation stabilized Charles IV allied himself with the Spanish Kingdom of Castile in order to have an ally to help France in the event of a renewed war with England. In 1369 he invaded English controlled Aquitaine and developed a strategy that used hit-and-run attacks instead of major battles. These attacks,...

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