THE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR
- the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) was perhaps the first national war in Europe
- after Norman conquest England was a rising power, strong monarchy, no involvement in conflicts, - English knights began rob their continental neighbours; simply because they were more powerful - the fact that Edward III and Henry V had genealogical claims to the French throne was but an explanation for robbing - the war was not a result of dynastic ambitions but a national matter, supported by the institutions (Parliament) - it was much more profitable for an English knight to go to France to plunder than to poor Scotland - that’s why in the early reign of Edward III English ambitions were redirected from Scotland to France; besides, Edward III spoke French, so he felt more at home there; - French resistance against the English was actually weaker than Scottish: France did not have a spirit of the nation, was just a collection of lords;
- the war against France was also fuelled by the conflicts between English and French merchants who sold wool to Flanders - first great action of the war: battle of Sluys (1340) won by the English merchant navy; - Edward III claimed the rights to the French throne and was, as the first English king, supported by the society, the Parliament; it rested on the hatred of the French in English-speaking common folk;
- the basis for the advantage of the English was a better social organisation: the French peasant serfs were strongly exploited and often rebelled; the English had a larger proportion of freemen, from whom the Edwards organised a trained army; - the 14th century became the age of the longbow as a preferred, most powerful weapon; using it was practised by the English since early years (actually Edward III banned other sports: handball, football, hockey); - English skilled archers could send an arrow through plates of armour - English fighting strategy also included changing cavalry into infantry:...
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