Grand Alliances: The Anglo-French War 1294 – 1303

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Medieval Mass battle ( AIGen/ Adobe Stock)

Grand Alliances: The Anglo-French War 1294 – 1303

In 1294, after almost 30 years of peace, England and France went to war. This sowed the seeds of the conflict known as the Hundred Years War, the era of the longbow and the famous Battles of Crécy and Agincourt. Despite a string of English victories, it ended in 1453 with the French conquest of Aquitaine and the fall of England's last territories on the continent, save Calais.

Anglo-French Conflict – (14th century) (Erica Guilane-Nachez/Adobe Stock)

Anglo-French Conflict – (14th century) (Erica Guilane-Nachez/Adobe Stock)

Treaty of Paris 1259

The Anglo-French War was originally a duel over sovereignty between rival monarchs, rather than a war between nation-states. It was fought over possession of Gascony (also called Guyenne). Via the Treaty of Paris, in 1259, King Henry III of England had signed away the bulk of his ancestral lands in France, including Normandy and Anjou, to King Louis IX of France. These lands had once formed the so-called Angevin Empire, constructed by King Henry II in the previous century. Most of these vast territories were lost by King John, and his successor Henry III's efforts to recover them proved futile. In 1259, after decades of intermittent warfare, Henry III was forced to bow to reality. He was allowed to keep the land of Gascony, a smaller portion of the old duchy of Aquitaine in south-west France, centred on Bordeaux. However, Henry III and his successors would not hold Gascony in their own right, but as vassals of the King of France. This placed the kings of England in a compromised position. After 1259 they were just one of many grand seigneurs of France, owing the French King homage and fealty, liable to do military service on demand.


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