The Hundred Years’ War was a conflict that marked the process of formation of the national monarchies of France and England. On a political level, this war was motivated by the political crisis that gripped France after the death of Philip the Fair in 1328. Seeking to enjoy the economic advantages arising from the unification of the crowns, the British king Edward III demanded the French throne, as He was the grandson of the late French monarch.
Furthermore, economic interest also explains this exhausting confrontation. During this period, monarchs were concerned with strengthening their political power through the collection of taxes. It was from this situation that the English and French disputed fiscal control over the prosperous region of Flanders. On the one hand, the English sought to control Flanders by providing the wool used by its weavers. However, France exercised political control in the region because of ancient feudal ties.
In much of the confrontation, the English defeated the French armies, imposing a heavy defeat. In 1415, English troops took over part of French territory, imprisoning King Charles VI and dominating the city of Paris. The British triumph was soon legitimized with the signing of the Treaty of Troyes, which transferred the northern portion of France to the domains of the English king Henry V. Until then, it seemed impossible that the French could reverse the supremacy achieved by the British.
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However, in 1429, the role played by a stubborn French woman named Joan of Arc gave other directions to this conflict. Leading a small army organized by the monarch Charles VII, this legendary warrior managed to reconquer the Orleans region from English rule. Soon afterwards, the euphoria caused by this achievement also made it possible to retake Reims. Immediately, the English were alarmed by the deeds of this unknown peasant woman.
While Charles VII was hailed as the new king of France, the English planned to capture and murder Joan of Arc. Imprisoned thanks to the efforts of the Duke of Burgundy, Joan of Arc was offered to the ecclesiastical courts on charges of witchcraft. Tried and condemned, the French heroine was burned alive in the city of Rouen, in 1431. With this, the English aimed to stifle a possible military reaction on the part of France.
However, the conquests undertaken by the sanctified warrior mobilized the French population in new battles against England. Mirroring Joan of Arc, the French inflicted repeated defeats on the British armies. In 1453, the conquest of the city of Bordeaux forced the English to admit defeat, ending the Hundred Years’ War. After that, the French monarchy gained broad powers under the tutelage of King Charles VII.
By Rainer Sousa
Graduated in History