John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster


John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster

biographical name

(born March 1340, Ghent—died Feb. 3, 1399, London, Eng.) English prince, the fourth son of Edward III. John's additional name, “Gaunt” (a corruption of the name of his birthplace, Ghent), was not used after he was three years old; it became the popularly accepted form of his name, however, through its use in William Shakespeare's play Richard II. John served as a commander in the Hundred Years' War against France, then returned to become an important influence in his father's last years as king and in the reign of his nephew Richard II. Through his first wife, John acquired the duchy of Lancaster in 1362, and he was the immediate ancestor of the three 15th-century monarchs of the house of Lancaster: Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI.

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