Why Philip VI and Edward III went to war in 1337
In the English history, during the medieval period one of the most important historical events is Hundred Years War. It was the last medieval war that was not just a war between the kings but also involved other lesser nobles who were perusing their personal agenda while they participated in the larger conflict. The name Hundred Years of War was assigned to protracted conflict that that involved France and England from 1337-1453. It took intermittent struggle over series of disputes that revolved the question of legitimate succession to French crown.
This war continued through the reigns of the French kings Philip VI, John II, Charles VI, and Charles VII and also the English kings Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI. The main purpose for this presentation is to discuss the reasons why Philip VI and Edward III started war in 1337 that took hundred years. The cause of war can be traced back to about four hundred years before it began when Carolingian Charles the Simple did allow the Viking Rollo to settle in the part of his kingdom, a place which was latter called Normandy, in 911 .
Charles III or the Simple was a member of the Carolingian dynasty and rule as king of France during a period between 873-923, who was the son of the King Louis the Stammer. Rollo also known as Robert was the founder and the first ruler of the Viking who were later called Normandy. Viking referred to one of Scandinavian or Norse explorers, warriors, merchants and also pirates who raided and colonized significant areas of Europe from late eighth to eleventh century. At one time Rollo and his Viking allies conquered a large region of France and managed to besiege Paris.
However, in 911, Rollo’s forces were defeated at the Battle of Charters by the King Charles the Simple troops. Instead of Rollo of Viking leaving the land as it was the customary, Charles the Simple decided to give Rollo the coastal lands. This happened on condition that Rollo by occupying coastal lands he would defend against invasions by other Vikings. This made them to enter into a treaty called Treaty of St. -Claire-sur –Epte. The treaty was signed for the purpose of settling the Normans in Neustria and also aimed to protect Charles kingdom from any invasion from the ‘northerner’.
Rollo did pledge feudal allegiance to the king and changed his name to Frankish version Robert as he became converted to Christian. In year 1066, the Normans led by William the Conqueror went forth and conquered the England thereby defeating Anglo-Saxon leadership in the battle of Hastings and started a new Anglo-Norman power Structure there . Even at this place of new power structure in England starting with Rollo, all Norman leaders were vassals to the King of France even after they became kings in England. Therefore, when William the Conqueror became the king in 1066 he united England with Normandy in France.
Many historians view this year when William the Conqueror became the king of England as the start of Medieval England. But William had enough reasons to go to claim to be a king in England. Before Harold Godwinson was overthrown by William the Conquer from power, Edward the Confessor was the king before his death. Harold was the most powerful nobleman during the reign of Edward the Confessor who was not a blood relative of the king that he could have succeeded him, but he gained much support by the other noblemen in the council of England’s that consisted the most powerful nobles.
Now it happened that at one time Harold experienced a shipwreck off the coast of Normandy and this made him being held captives by Count Guy de Ponthieu. To rescue this man, William the conquer paid for the release of Harold and held in the court of William in Normandy. This made him to be prize catch whereby he was faced with two choices. Either he was to spend his rest of life in Norman captivity or return to England and lead a life of nobleman. But to return to England he was supposed to support the claim of William the Conqueror that he would be the next king of England after Edwards’s death.
According to the nature of oath that was taken, William was sure that Harold would be to the letter according to the promise. Besides this William also had a claim that in the year 1051, Edward had promised him the throne when he had visited him making him to have a double claim. But when Edward, died in 1066, Harlod was made a king by Archbishop Stigant. When William the Conqueror heard this he was furious and decided to take power by force. So, when William of Normandy conquered England he did so as a French noble. During his reign he replaced nearly all the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy with French nobles.
During two century that followed, the French speaking English kings acquired more property in France particularly through marriages . In England, the period that followed was characterized by civil wars and unrest that was referred to as the Anarchy, a period during 1135-1154. This period of Anarchy period started during the reign of the Norman King, Stephen of England . Stephen was a nephew of King Henry I of England who did not have a legitimate son that could succeed him because his son had died in White Ship disaster. Henry decided to name his daughter Matilda as heir to his throne.
But this could not have ever happen because no woman could have ruled over the England. When Henry died in 1135, Stephen took up the crown as elected king by townspeople who had their ancient right to decide upon which king to rule over them. However, his reign was characterized by lack of rule and insecurity. Because of this Norman dynasty was succeeded by Angevin Kings. Henry II was the first Angevin King whereby during his rule, it was considered to be the most powerful monarch in Europe which had stretches of land from Pyrenees to Scottish borders.
But still during this time the king of England was still a vassal of the King of France and this gave opportunity to directly rule French territory more than the King of France. This situation where the Angevin kings owed vassalage to a ruler who was considered to be de facto much weaker and was the real problem of continual conflict that fuelled the Hundred Years of War because the kings of England who were vassal occupied even greater parts of French land than the kings who ruled there.
To settle this problem once and for all, French made three decisive wars namely the conquest of Normandy, the Saintonge War, and finally the War of Saint-Sardos to minimize the England’s hold on the continent to just a few small provinces in Gascony and complete loss of the crown jewel of Normandy. According to historians the contributing factor for the Hundred Years War revolved around the relationship between the Kings of France and England particularly in regard to the duchy of Aquitaine located in Southern France.
This resulted to The Treaty of Paris which was signed between Louis IX of France and Henry III of England whereby Henry agreed to renounce control of Normandy except in Channel Islands, Maine, Anjou and Poitou that had been lost during the rule of King John. However, Henry managed to keep the lands of Gascony and some parts of Aquitaine (Guyenne) as a vassal to Louis. In turn Louis agreed to withdraw the support he was giving to the English labels. In essence, this agreement resulted in making English kings to pay homage liege to the French monarchs and hence to remain French vassals.
This situation did not have a lasting solution instead it created much tension between these kings. This is because these two sovereigns of equal power in their countries were as if they were not equal. Besides, Henry beings the King of England how could it be that he turned to be a vassal. These two provinces Gascony and Guyenne by early 14th Century were still under English king rule and French wanted them back. Conflict began when direct line of succession died out without a male heir in France.
When Charles IV, King of France died in 1328, he did not leave a male heir who could succeed him and all of his brothers were dead. But Charles IV had a sister who was called Isabella the mother of Edward III and a queen of Edward II of England. In 1320, Edward III before being a king he was made Earl of the Chester and by 1325 he was Duke of Aquitaine though he did not receive the title of Prime of Wales. After the fall of Bristol in 1326, he was proclaimed to be warden of the kingdom during his father’s absence.
In 1327, the parliament recognized him as king and he was crowed in the same month. Edward strove hard to return back England to bring it back to position it was under Edward I. He did not like recognition of independence to Scotland by the treaty of Northampton of 1328. In fact the death of Robert Bruce gave him chance to retrieve his position. During this time of his ruling, he gradually drifted to hostility with France. Therefore, by the fact that Edward’s mother was the daughter to the late king Philip IV of France, Edward laid claim to be the king of France.
But the French wanted a cousin of Charles called Philip of Valois or Philip VI who was considered through a male line to be the king because they did not recognize French claim based on descent through female line. This conflict of legitimacy was the root cause of the Hundred Years of War that went off and on. The rise of Philip into the regency was due to the support of French magnates according to the pattern which was set up by Philip V’s succession over his niece who was called Joan II Navarrre and also Charles IV’s succession over all his nieces even her daughters of Philip V.
By the time Charles was dying he left wife Jeanne d’Evreux expectant. But she delivered a girl and this made Philip to be crowned as a king. In early days, Philip enjoyed peaceful relations with Edward III and they even planned a crusade together in 1332 though it was never executed. But the issue about the status of Duchy of Aquitaine caused conflict between these two kings. But, there were also other reasons that aggravated the hostility.Sample Essay of PaperDon.com