Hundred Years War 1337- 1453 *116 Years of Warfare!

100 Years War Introduction

The hundred years war actually lasted around 116 years in all and was a series of battles between the feuding English and French Kings. This war had disastrous outcomes including the decimation of populations, famine, and plague (Black Death).

Various historians divide the war into three phases

  1. The Edwardian war (1337-1360)
  2. The Caroline war (1339-1389)
  3. The Lancastrian war (1415-1453)

The hundred years war started when King Charles the IV of France died and Edward III of England noticed there was no heir to the French throne and wanted to claim it for himself, it was fought between France and England over who controlled France, with successive English Kings claiming their right to the French throne and its lands.


Hundred Years War *Agincourt *Crecy *Poitiers

In the initial battles of the hundred years of war, the English were more successful as they used superior battle tactics which brought them famous victories in the battles Battle of Agincourt, Crécy, and Poitiers.

Battle-Agincourt-King-Henryking-henry

Battle Agincourt King Henry

In particular, it was the use of Longbowmen in tightly packed formations of around 1000 soldiers that destroyed the French Knights, in these battles the normally dominant French Knights had no answer to the constant stream of arrows that rained down on them from the English longbowmen.

Tudor Weapons

Longbowmen *Battle of Agincourt

Hundred Years War *Battle of Agincourt

One of the most famous battles during the hundred years of war was the battle of Agincourt, Henry V had become the King of England in 1413 and he immediately set about renewing the claim of Edward III for the French throne.

KIng Henry V portrait

King Henry V

The French thought they had the superior army with around 30,000 French Knights amassed in a muddy field in France. The English army only numbered 6000 many of which were longbowmen.

English enemy fire their arrow bolts at French Enemy

English longbowmen

However the French had underestimated how the English would use their longbowmen during many battles of the hundred years war, groupings of up to 1000 longbowmen would unleash a hail of arrows upon the French Knights who were virtually sitting ducks.

Battle of Agincourt French Knights Battle Ready

French Knights prepare for battle during the battle of Agincourt

The French Knights also got stuck in the mud as arrows rained down on them, and the French Knights fled back through their own advancing foot-soldiers. This caused chaos in the French ranks and the English were able to take advantage, the longbowmen dropped their longbows and joined the attack with the English Knights and the French Knights were massacred.

Knights and Foot soldiers Battle of Agincourt


100 Years War *Black Prince

Edward III’s son was known as the Black Prince, he was a skilled military man and won a famous battle at the battle of Crecy he was also able to capture the French King in the battle of Poitiers and was responsible for seizing the French town of Calais.

Edward The Black Prince was one of the most famous Knights in medieval History

In 1360 the English had captured a large amount of French land, however, most of this land was won back by the French in later battles of the hundred years’ war.


Hundred Years War *Henry V

Henry V captured Harfleur in 1415 from the French army, he also won the battle of Agincourt with his superior battle tactics and in particular the way he used his archers during the hundred years war.

English enemy fire their arrow bolts at French Enemy

English longbowmen

Crossbowmen

Crossbowmen

Henry V thought that he was going to be the next King of France and he was probably justified in this opinion at the time, however, the French King had different ideas and this caused fighting to break out yet again during the Hundred Years War.


Hundred Years War *John of Arc

At the age of 16 young peasant woman called Joan of Arc claimed that she heard voices telling her that it was her mission to liberate France during the hundred years of war.

Medieval France Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was a legendary figure in medieval France

France had lost many battles to English armies during the Hundred Year’s War and in 1429 the English had won a lot of French lands.

The rise of Joan of Arc from a peasant girl to a commander of French troops was nothing short of spectacular and she helped to inspire the French army who were successful in breaking English dominance.

Joan of Arc

It was under her guidance that the siege of Orleans was broken in 1429 by the French army. Unfortunately for the French, her leadership was short-lived however and just over a year later Joan of Arc was captured by the English army, she was then accused of being a  witch and burned at the stake.

Medieval Castles Siege

Siege of Orleans


End of the 100 Years War

The hundred years war lasted approximately one hundred and sixteen years and there were many advances made by the English who at one point had captured vast amounts of French land, however, they were constantly beaten back by French armies and at the end of the hundred years war were finally driven out France.

In 1453 the French finally captured the town of Bordeaux from the English and this led to the eventual end of the hundred years of war

Hundred Years War Fast Facts

  • 1337 – The year that the hundred years of war began.
  • 1346 – English win the battle of Crecy.
  • In the battle of Crécy the French had 30,000 Knights at their disposal.
  • in the battle of Crécy the English had a combined force of 6000 Knights and archers.
  • 1415 – Henry V defeated the French in the battle of Agincourt.
  • 1429 – Jeanne d’Arc also known as Joan of Arc drives the English out of French town Orleans.
Battle of Crécy

Battle of Crécy Edward III counting the dead on the battlefield of Crécy

  • A succession of English Kings claimed the French throne starting the hundred years war.
  • English longbowmen destroy French knights and kill their horses in the battle of Agincourt & Crécy .
  • The English army is dominant in the early battles of the hundred years war.

Joan of Arc

  • Joan of Arc claimed she heard voices from God to liberate France.
  • John of Arc inspired the French army and defeated the English in Bridgetown, New Orleans.
  • Joan of Arc was eventually captured and burned at the stake by the English army.
  • The French eventually reclaimed most of the land that had been won by the English army.
  • In 1453 the Hundred years’ war came to an end when the French captured the town of Bordeaux.

Medieval France Joan of Arc


Who Won the 100 Years War?

There were many victories for both sides in the 100 years of war but ultimately France was able to take back all the territories that the English had conquered.

How Long was the 100 Years War?

The 100 years of war actually lasted for 116 years from the year 1337 to 1453.

When was the 100 Years War?

The 100 years war took place in Medieval Europe and was a series of battles between England and France over 100 years from 1137 to 1453.