The Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) consisted of numerous small raids between local armies in which the French suffered many losses. Two of these losses included the battles at Crecy and Poitiers. However, over time, the French rebounded after the victory at the battle in Orleans in 1429, which was led by 17-year old French peasant, Joan of Arc. Before going into battle, Joan sent a letter to the English demanding that they leave France. Joan’s letter to the king of England in 1429 and her role in the battle at Orleans played a symbolic role and affected the French’s success in the Hundred Years’ War by increasing French spirits and showing the weakness of the English.
When the Hundred Years’ War began in 1337, the strength of the French empire declined and the English possessed most of France. Although the war began in 1337, tensions between France and England started centuries earlier. In 1066, William of Normandy, duke of France, defeated the English and became king of England. A century later, conflict arose when Henry II, a great grandson of William, came into power in 1154 and wanted to add to his empire, known as the Angevin Empire, by taking over French territories. Friction mounted as the fighting between Angevin and French territories continued. Finally, King Edward III of England claimed the throne of France in 1328 but was refused, causing war to break out in 1337. The French suffered huge losses in the first period of the Hundred Years’ War. The French cavalry was decimated at Crecy in 1347, the fortress of Calais was lost in 1347, the French army was crushed at Poitiers in 1356, and King John II handed over ⅓ of the French kingdom to the English by the Treaty of Bretigny. Although the French drove out the English b...
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