Research Paper on Causes of the 100 Years' War

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1217 Words
Date:  2022-06-13


Historians developed the name Hundred Years' War from the beginning of the 19th century, describing the long conflict between 1337 and 1453. A time when Edward III of England was confiscated his vassal of the French possession by Philip VI of France, and the English recovery attempt that crashed at the Castillon battle, leaving the English men with no land in France except in Calais. Therefore, the paper is premised on a discussion on the causes of the 100 Years' War.

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Firstly, the overseas possessions of English kings caused the war as tensions were created between France and England. During this time, the conqueror, William, was already the Duke of Normandy by the time he was the king of England. In 1154, Henry II, his great-grandson was a count of Anjou by Duke of Aquitaine and inheritance from his father, in right of his wife, Eleanor. Due to these trans-channel possessions, the kings of England were made mightier easily on the king of France's vassals, causing inevitable friction between them, escalating into open hostilities (Burne, 2014). The possessions resulted in the Hundred Years War growing out of the clashes and their possible consequences. The other cause of the war was in 1337, when the 1294 outbreak coincided with King Edward I's first clash and the scots, making the French and Scots to be allied with England in all subsequent confrontations. However, in the face of Edward III's intervention, a breakdown was triggered between France and England that culminated in King Philip VI's confiscation of Aquitaine.

Thirdly, in 1340, Edward III played skillfully on his claim to the French throne to lure discontented French provinces and princes to alliance with him and surrender in the wars. He used the claimants of Montfort to the duchy of Brittany in the succession war. Charles of Navarre, who was the French blood royal, a landowner, a prominent Norman vassal et cetera enabled Edward III to render substantial regions of France. The regions were virtually ungovernable from Paris which made fighting on the French soil proceed in between occasional English expeditions. The French kings also possessed the military and financial resources of the most influential and populous state in Western Europe, having an advantage over the more sparsely populated, smaller English Kingdom, contributing to the 100 Years' War However, the English army was well disciplined and used their longbows successfully to stop the cavalry charges, but the French forces still defeated them (Burne, 2014). In 1360, King John of France accepted the treaty of Calais forcefully to save his title, which granted the duchy of Guyenne complete independence, enlarging to a third of the French land. Fourthly, in 1369, the Bretigny peace broke down because of English and French backing opposite sides in internal dispute for the Spanish for Castile's throne because they were both competing for power and the strongest army. By 1375, under the leadership of the new king, Charles V, the French succeeded in a wrestling that was from the more significant part of England with the principality of Aquitaine. The drawn reduced England's competent authority to some coastal strip between Bayonne and Bordeaux, with Charles V damaging the naval raids on the English south coast parts (Burne, 2016)

In 1380, King John's son, Charles V, succeeded in reconquering all the ceded territory with the help of Bertrand du Guesclin, his commander in chief though by a series of sieges. In 1399, things began changing again after Richard's II deposition as rivalry was escalating in France between the dukes of Orleans and Burgundy for government control for the insane Charles VI contributing to the procedure of the 100 Years' War. This paved way to clear opportunities for the ambitious English intervention that Henry V had succeeded in 1413 but seized because the French government declined. Sixthly, the French battles were horrific, and the dukes of Bourbon and Orleans were taken and treated as prisoners as they had no power over the war (Douglas, 2015). Another cause of the War was that since fighting was on the French soil, finding English experience was challenging and comparable to the dislocation and devastation in the French countryside economic life.

The French, therefore, increased taxation to make the English feel the impact of being in their land, as campaigns that would be made abroad needed high government expenditure which made the English weaker. In 1415 and 1420, Henry V of England proved victorious and renewed the war after a hiatus at Agincourt then attempted to be crowned by the Treaty of Troyes as the future king of France. However, his political and military successes did not match, making the French refuse the English domination. Eighthly, the English armies were small modern standards and had less than seven thousand army men, who were recruited voluntarily (Mackinder, 2014).

They used the longbow weapons to fight the French who had swords, archers, and lance. These were weapons that could not be compared as the French were highly trained and ensured that they had an active command structure, more superior and advanced than those of the English. In 1429, the siege of Orleans was uplifted, and the Paris and Ile-de-France were liberated making the French army to be reformed and reorganized. This caused Charles VII to recapture the duchy of Normandy and to seize Guyenne making the conflict never to be marked by a peace treaty but to die because of the English recognizing that the French troops are too active to be confronted directly. From 1435, the two rivals started to negotiate on making peace and proposed that Henry VI of England marry Princess Margaret of Anjou. However, this was planned by the French, and in 1449, an English force looted and sacked Fougeres in Brittany, making Charles VI reorganize his royal army, declaring war again. This made the French bitter and felt betrayed promising to revenge in the ongoing war (Rogers, 2018).


In summary, the 100 Years War took place between 1337 and 1453 with the French army defeating the English army. This is because the French were well organized and knew how to lure the English to ally with them so that they can rule. Moreover, the war was on the French land, and the English could not gain any new fighting tactics. Also, King John of France accepted to sign the treaty forcefully to entice the English, making them think that the French had given up though failed in the end. They also planned on making negotiations through making Henry VI of England marry Princess Margaret of Anjou to look for ways of making peace but failed. The conflict too was never marked peaceful by the time it ended, but the English surrendered because they realized that the French were too loud and had all possible ways of defeating them, all contributing to the cause of the 100 Years' War.


Burne, A. H. (2014). The Agincourt War: A Military History of the Hundred Years War from 1369 to 1453. Frontline Books.

Burne, A. H. (2016). The Crecy War: A Military History of the Hundred Years War from 1337 to the Peace of Bretigny in 1360. Frontline Books.

Douglas, S. K. (2015). The Price of Pestilence: England's response to the Black Death in the face of the Hundred Years War (Doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University).

Mackinder, H. J. (2014). The geographical pivot of history. In Geopolitics (pp. 44-48). Routledge.

Rogers, C. J. (2018). The Military Revolutions of the Hundred Years War 1. In The military revolution debate (pp. 55-94). Routledge.

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