History of War


On the death of King Charles IV of France in 1328, Edward III of England was his closest male heir and therefore the legitimate successor to the throne of the childless Charles. This was due to the ancient Salian (or Salic) law that prevented female succession (it had, however, only been enacted in 1316). Despite Edward’s legitimate claim, the French crowned Philip, Count of Valois, King Philip VI of France and the slighted Edward refused to pay him homage. In revenge, Philip confiscated Edward’s lands in Aquitaine (held as a vasal duchy to the crown of France). Edward therefore declared war against France and plunged England and France into war that would last, on and off, for the next 116 years, a war we know as the Hundred Years’ War.

In 1340, Edward declared himself King of France and his forces achieved spectacular success against the French in the early years of the war, wining the naval Battle of Sluys in 1340 and then at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. This allowed the English to capture Calais in 1347. More campaigning was interrupted by the outbreak and spread of the Black Death, which reached and proliferated in France and then England in 1348 and 1349. Philip VI died in

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