4.1 100 Years War: Edwardian Phase

The Hundred Years War broke out when the French king edwardiii (Charles IV) died in 1328 without leaving a male heir. Although Charles IV had a daughter, according to Salic Law females couldn't inherit the throne. Therefore, Charles' stepson (King Edward III of England (shown at right)) laid claim to the French throne. The French nobility, however, absolutely refused to allow an Englishman to become their king.

In 1338 AD, Edward III invaded France. There were no significant land battles between the French and English during the opening of the Edwardian Phase. However, the English defeated the French in a naval battle in the English Channel. This naval victory gave England absolute control of the Channel enabling them to attack France anywhere, anytime along the coastline. In 1346, Edward III led a great military victory over French forces at the Battle of Crecy.

black princeEdward III's son (Edward IV or the "Black Prince") became an important leader. Edward IV was a smart military tactician who helped his father capture the French city of Bordeaux in 1355 AD. Edward IV played an important role during the English victory over the French at the Battle of Poiters (in south-central France).

Even though the English had a much smaller army than the French, the English employed a relatively new weapon called the longbow to great effect. The longbow gave the English a huge advantage. The long bow enabled archers to kill French knights from a significant distance. The long bow also had a fast rate of fire which meant a single archer could kill multiple knights before the French riders could even approach the English lines. Another advantage the English had was their infantry were lightly armored compared to the French knights. Thus, several English inedwardian phasefantrymen could out-manuevere and overpower a heavily armored French knight.

A peace treaty was signed between the French and English bringing the Edwardian Phase to a close. The Burgundians started supporting English claims to the French throne at this time. When a new French king named Charles V rose to power in 1364 he looked for any excuse to renew the war with England. This came in the form of Edward IV's refusal to swear allegiance to the French king. The English lost both Edward III and Edward IV in 1376 and 1377 respectively. The loss of these leaders weakened England's position significantly. The new English king, Nine-year-old Richard II, succeeded Edward. During the early part of Richard II’s reign, England was divided losing most of the lands previously gained by the Black Prince.