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Unformatted text preview: The War of the Century... To understand the Hundred Years war we must understand what led up to it. More than four centuries before the first casualty fell, in 911, Charles the Simple of the Carolingian dynasty granted Rollo, a Viking, a large section of his kingdom which was known afterwards as Normandy. It wasn't until 1066 that things began to get complicated. In that year William the Conqueror, a Norman, defeated the Anglo-Saxons and effectively took the whole of Britain. Because Normandy was a fief granted by the French king, all land held by it's vassal was also the king's, and this included England. So even though the king of England owned more land than the king of France himself, it was still a fief of the French kingdom. From 1135 to 1154, England went through a series of civil wars which ultimately established the reign of the Angevin Kings. The Angevin Kings at one time were in control over England, Normandy, Anjou, Gascony, Aquitane, and several other large fiefs. Feeling the pressure the King of France aimed to fix this and through three campaigns (the Conquest of Normandy; 1214, Saintonge War; 1242, and the War of Saint-Sardos; 1324). By the end of these three wars England was left with just a few sectors within Gascony. This of course only built tensions further and led to somewhat of a national identity for the English, leading away from the French King. The direct causes of the Hundred Years' War can be rooted in the complex network of birthrights and investiture of power. For this we go to France and look at the Capetian lineage. In 1314, King Phillip IV dies and leaves behind three sons as potential successors: Louis X, Phillip V, and Charles the IV. The throne was given to Louis X as he was the eldest, however two years later he died leaving it to his son John I, who in fact was born and died in the same year. His only other child was Joan, but looking to recieve the throne Phillip V claimed that she was illegitimate and thus unable to take the throne. Phillip reigned over France for only a few years until his death in 1322. He had only daughters, but they were passed for his younger brother Charles IV due to the precedent he had set with Joan the years before. Soon to face Charles IV was Edward II of England in the War of Saint-Sardos. This, however, was a devastating and embarrassing loss for the English, which eventually led to Edward's assassination (1327). In 1328, King Charles died, leaving only daughters and no male heirs, which also led to the end of the Capetian lineage. The English interpreted this and claimed that Edward III, the son of Edward II and Isabella, who was the sister of Charles IV and daughter of Phillip IV, was not only the rightful heir to the English throne, but being the only surviving male in the senior Capetian line, he was the rightful successor to the French throne. Even still, the French refused to let a foreign king control the kingdom and to get around this they interpreted what is know as the ancient 'Salic...
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- Spring '07