Henry V's Impact on the Hundred Years War

Topics: Henry VI of England, Charles VI of France, Henry V of England Pages: 9 (3238 words) Published: May 29, 2013
Elective History Medieval Assignment
Henry V

Henry V made a significant impact on the outcome of the Hundred Years War. Henry V shifted the focus of the war to the north of France; the areas of Normandy and Brittany were now a central focus instead of lands close to Gascony in southern France. He was the first king to successfully conquer all of northern France and beyond, and not stopping at conquering, but securing permanent fixtures to ensure that his occupation would remain unchallenged. Henry V’s most important accomplishment was that of the creation of the treaty of Troyes, according to C.T. Allmand, “This was the most important treaty of the Hundred Years War”. This treaty secured the French crown for the English, achieving the goal Edward III possessed when he first invaded France.

Henry V had two major areas of impact, his first campaign into France in 1415, in which he captured a powerful tool in the form of the castle Harfluer. During the same campaign he won a decisive victory at Agincourt, smashing the French opponents even when heavily outnumbered. His other area of significance was his second campaign into France, in which he would eventually conquer all of Normandy and take the French crown for England. Henry V achieved all of the goals during his lifetime; he conquered and occupied all the northern areas of France. Most importantly though, is that he secured the throne of France for England.

The Hundred Years War originated from a time where England was still a vassal state of France, requiring the kings of England to pay homage to the French crown. By the 1330’s, England had a strong sense of national identity, and during this time, England gradually came into a state of hostility with France, for which one of the main reasons was the dispute and friction over Gascony, a region in the south of France, which was under English rule. By establishing that England required paying homage to the French crown for Gascony created a tension between the two sides, as according to Orton, “England and France were nations growing apart”.

When the king of France - Charles IV – died, Edward III saw an opportunity to gain the throne of France. Edward claimed that he was the rightful heir of France, because he was the closest living relative to the deceased Charles IV (His mother being the sister of Charles IV, making Edward his nephew). The French crown was given to the cousin of Charles IV, who was Philip VI, and when Edward heard this, he declared war on France. The claim that Edward laid on the French crown was a great tool of propaganda for him; he could now wage war on the hostile nation of France. Now it did not appear that he was simply a rebellious vassal, instead, he could fight under the terms that he was denied his inheritance. Because of this, he could fight the French without appearing as a dishonourable king; he had a legitimate claim.

By the time Henry V had ascended to the throne, two phases of the war had been fought, and twice had the two rivals made peace. The French, during the middle phase of the war, had unrightfully invaded lands around the area of Gascony that had been given to the English from the Treaty of Brétigny. His father, Henry IV according to Matusiak, “Had no burning ambition to secure the French crown, and during his reign, Aquitaine (Gascony) suffered from relative neglect. The war had moved, well and truly, towards more northern parts of France”.

Henry V, two years after he ascended to the throne in 1415 renewed the English claim to the French crown. His main objective was the, “systemic conquering and occupation of the great towns and fortresses of northern France” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). He claimed, according to Barker, that the lands of Normandy and Gascony were his by inheritance and that they were withheld from him wrongfully and unrightfully. He demanded that the French not only give the English power over these lands, but an English Chronicle from the...
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