Article

The Hundred Years War

Clifford J. Rogers

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0059
The Hundred Years War

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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“The Hundred Years War” is a term invented in the 18th century and popularized by Chrysanthe-Ovide Des Michels’s 1823 tableau chronologique describing the period of conflict between 1337, when Philip VI of France formally confiscated the French possessions of his vassal, Edward III of England, and 1453, when the English attempt to recover Gascony (which had been overrun in 1451) was crushed at the battle of Castillon, leaving the English with no land in France except Calais. The principal immediate causes of the war were conflicts over the degree of sovereignty the English crown would exercise in Scotland and Aquitaine, but by 1340 these issues had become irreversibly intertwined with Edward’s claim that he, rather than Philip, was the rightful heir of Charles IV of France. By the late 19th century, the idea that this prolonged struggle had a basic unity that entitled it to a proper name was solidly entrenched. There has now been well over a century’s worth of scholarly output on the war itself eo nomine, its origins and diplomacy, its battles and campaigns, its devastating effects on France, and so on. Nineteenth-century French historians in particular made many distinguished contributions to the study of the war, many of which are still useful. Throughout the 20th century, numerous prominent historians added important studies to the literature. Because of the bulk of the scholarly work in the field, a large number of older but still important articles and books have had to be omitted from this entry; the bibliographies and notes found in the more recent works cited, however, can guide the reader to them. Societies at war for extended periods cannot but be strongly affected by that fact, and the Hundred Years War both influenced and was influenced by almost every aspect of human life in France, England, and Scotland during its long course. Some of the changes brought on or molded by the war were of the greatest significance for the general development of European history and, ultimately, of world history: The extended struggle was a chief engine of the early development of nationalism and the proto–nation-state, and of the rise of Parliament in England and a strong centralized monarchy in France. Moreover, the war’s developments in military technology (particularly artillery) and military organization provided key foundations for Europe’s rise to global hegemony in the centuries after its conclusion.

Article.  15246 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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