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Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
(1337–1453) Intermittent armed conflict between England and France over territorial rights and the issue of succession to the French throne. It began when Edward III invaded Flanders in 1337 in order to assert his claim to the French crown. Edward won a major victory at the Battle of Crécy (1346); after his son Edward the Black Prince managed to capture John II at the Battle of Poitiers (1356), the French were obliged to surrender extensive lands under the treaties of Brétigny and Calais (1360). When John II died in captivity, his son Charles V refused to respect the treaties and reopened the conflict, putting the English on the defensive. After Charles V's death in 1380 both countries were preoccupied with internal power struggles, and the war lapsed into uncertain peace. In 1415, however, Henry V decided to take advantage of civil war in France to press English claims to the French throne (see Battle of Agincourt). By 1422, the English and their Burgundian allies controlled Aquitaine and all France north of the Loire, including Paris. A turning point came in 1429, when Joan of Arc raised the English siege of Orléans. The French king Charles VII conquered Normandy and then retook Aquitaine in 1453, leaving the English in possession only of Calais. The war laid waste to much of France and caused enormous suffering; it virtually destroyed the feudal nobility and thereby brought about a new social order. By ending England's status as a power on the continent, it led the English to expand their reach and power at sea.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Hundred Years' War, visit Britannica.com.
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