Hundred Years' War (1369–89)
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|Hundred Years' War (1369-1389)|
|Part of Hundred Years' War|
The Battle of Najera
| Kingdom of France
Crown of Castile
|Kingdom of England|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Charles V of France
Charles VI of France
Bertrand du Guesclin
| Edward III of England
Edward, the Black Prince
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
Richard II of England
|Casualties and losses|
The Caroline War was the second phase of the Hundred Years' War between France and England, following the Edwardian War. It was so-named after Charles V of France, who resumed the war after the Treaty of Brétigny (signed 1360). In May 1369, the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England, refused an illegal summons from the French king demanding he come to Paris and Charles responded by declaring war. He immediately set out to reverse the territorial losses imposed at Brétigny and he was largely successful in his lifetime. His successor, Charles VI, made peace with the son of the Black Prince, Richard II, in 1389. This truce was extended many times until the war was resumed in 1415.
The reign of Charles V saw the English steadily pushed back. Although the English-backed claimant to the Duchy of Brittany, John of Montfort, defeated and killed the French claimant, Charles of Blois, at the Battle of Auray in 1364, John and his heirs eventually reconciled with the French kings. The War of the Breton Succession ended in favour of the English, but gave them no great advantage. In fact, the French received the benefit of improved generalship in the person of the Breton commander Bertrand du Guesclin, who, leaving Brittany, entered the service of Charles and became one of his most successful generals.
At about the same time, a war in Spain occupied the Black Prince's efforts from 1366. The Castilian Civil War pitted Pedro the Cruel, whose daughters Constance and Isabella were married to the Black Prince's brothers John of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley, against Henry of Trastámara. In 1369, with the support of Du Guesclin, Henry deposed Pedro to become Henry II of Castile. He then went to war with England, which was allied with Portugal.
Twenty years of war
Just before New Year's Day 1370, the English seneschal of Poitou, John Chandos, was killed at the bridge at Lussac-les-Châteaux. The loss of this commander was a significant blow to the English. Jean III de Grailly, the captal de Buch, was also captured and locked up by Charles, who did not feel bound by "outdated" chivalry. Du Guesclin continued a series of careful campaigns, avoiding major English field forces, but capturing town after town, including Poitiers in 1372 and Bergerac in 1377. Du Guesclin, who according to chronicler Jean Froissart, had advised the French king not to engage the English in the field, was successful in these Fabian tactics, though in the only two major battles in which he fought, Auray (1364) and Nájera (1367), he was on the losing side and was captured but released for ransom. The English response to Du Guesclin was to launch a series of destructive military expeditions, called chevauchées, in an effort at total war to destroy the countryside and the productivity of the land. But Du Guesclin refused to be drawn into open battle. He continued his successful command of the French armies until his death in 1380.
In 1372, English dominance at sea, which had been upheld since the Battle of Sluys, was reversed, at least in the Bay of Biscay, by the disastrous defeat by a joint Franco-Castilian fleet at the Battle of La Rochelle. This defeat undermined English seaborne trade and supplies and threatened their Gascon possessions.
In 1376, the Black Prince died, and in April 1377, Edward III of England sent his Chancellor, Adam Houghton, to negotiate for peace with Charles, but when in June Edward himself died, Houghton was called home. The underaged Richard of Bordeaux succeeded to the throne of England. It was not until Richard had been deposed by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke that the English, under the House of Lancaster, could forcefully revive their claim to the French throne. The war nonetheless continued until the first of a series of truces was signed in 1389.
Charles V died in September 1380 and was succeeded by his underage son, Charles VI, who was placed under the joint regency of his three uncles. On his deathbed Charles V repealed the royal taxation necessary to fund the war effort. As the regents attempted to reimpose the taxation a popular revolt known as the Harelle broke out in Rouen. As tax collectors arrived at other French cities the revolt spread and violence broke out in Paris and most of France's other northern cities. The regency was forced to repeal the taxes to calm the situation.
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