France History - the Hundred Years of War

France History: the Hundred Years of War


In this way his son, Philip IV called the Beautiful, received a powerful and vast state. The centralizing politics of these, his elevated concept of the function of king led him to clash with Boniface VIII, another great personality of the time, aimed at restoring value to theocratic principles. Supported by the States General, who held the principle that the authority of the king, deriving directly from God, could not be suspended by a papal excommunication, Philip the Fair ended the clash with the outrage of Anagni (1303). Boniface VIII did not survive the accident for long and for his succession Philip the Fair imposed a French bishop. The latter, out of gratitude, agreed to transport the pontifical see to France ad Avignon and, instigated by its “master”, decreed (1312) the dissolution of the order of the Templars, whose immense patrimony was the object of the most ardent greed of Philip the Fair. Louis X called the Stubborn, Philip V called the Long and Charles IV (1322-28), the last of the Capetians in a direct line, succeeded one after the other to Philip the Beautiful. When Charles IV died, to prevent Edward III of England from asserting his rights to the French throne (he was, through his mother, the closest heir), the States General established, applying the Salic law, that the crown of France passed to Philip of Valois, son of a younger brother of Philip the Fair. Having ascended the throne, Philip VI demanded that Edward III pay him homage as a vassal for Guienna and Gascony. Edward III obeyed, but decided to take revenge for so much humiliation. He began to form a coalition against France, in which, in addition to England, the Duke of Brabant and the communes of Flanders took part. Philip VI thought it appropriate to anticipate their moves, having some strongholds occupied in Guienna and Flanders. This was the political origin of the Hundred Years War. In this particularly tormented period for France there are events such as the imprisonment of John II known as the Good in London and, during the regency and then the reign of Charles V, the jacquerie, the revolt led in Paris by Étienne Marcel, the intrigues of the king of Navarre Charles the Evil who presented himself as a pretender to the throne.


The madness of Charles VI, the struggle between Armagnacchi and Borgognoni and, after the English victory at Azincourt (1415), the Treaty of Troyes (1420) which provided for Henry V’s accession to the French throne, seem to mark the extreme decline of France where Charles VII, the ousted dauphin, now had very limited powers; but the intervention of Joan of Arc was able to restore vigor and enthusiasm to the fight. Liberated Orléans, she convinced the king to go to Reims to be crowned according to the traditional rite, managing to restore a dignity and prestige to Charles, hitherto held in no account by his own subjects. In 1435, at the cost of a humiliating peace signed in Arras, Charles VII managed to detach the Duke of Burgundy by his English allies, and in 1437 he was able to return to Paris. The British always occupied Normandy and Guienna. Only in 1453 did they abandon French soil. The last years of Charles VII’s reign were painful and disappointing; Louis XI, his son, succeeded him in 1461 and after defeating his most formidable opponent, Charles the Bold Duke of Burgundy, he devoted himself completely to the fight against feudalism. He harshly atoned the great feudal lords for their hostility and confiscated their possessions, annexing them to the royal domain. Heir also of the lands of the Duke of Anjou, he now reigned over a vast unified territory, which in 1483 he left to Charles VIII, then thirteen years old. He first reigned under the tutelage of his sister Anna, which had to face the opposition of the feudal lords committed only to cancel the work of the late king and to recover their privileges (the “crazy war”). Having come of age, Charles VIII began, by deciding to claim the rights of the house of Anjou over the Kingdom of Naples, to the Italian adventure that was to last until 1559, moving the axis of interest of the major European powers to the peninsula. After the first rapid initial successes that led him to Rome (December 31, 1494) and to Naples (February 22, 1495), a coalition of European powers formed against him, Charles was forced to return to France where he brought back an army in conditions. pitiful.

France History - the Hundred Years of War

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