Treaty of Canterbury (1416)

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The Treaty of Canterbury was a diplomatic agreement concluded between Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor and Henry V of England in 1416. The treaty resulted in a defensive and offensive alliance against France.

Precipitating events[edit]

Sigismund began to shift his alliance from France to England after the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt. After departing from the Council of Constance, Sigismund arrived in Paris on 1 March 1416. Sigismund was unable to reach an agreement with the French government because Bernard Armagnac wanted to maintain his Naval blockade of Harfleur and prevent the English from maintaining a naval base in Normandy. In addition, Sigismund could not create an agreement that satisfied both the opposing Orleanist and Burgundian factions of the government. As a result of his struggles in creating an agreement, Sigismund traveled to London on 3 May 1416 to negotiate with Henry V of England. Upon his arrival, Sigismund was made a Knight of the Garter, viewed a session of parliament, and was given a Lancastrian collar. However, Sigismund still wanted a peace settlement and continued negotiating with France as well. In July 1416, Sigismund convinced Henry V and the French government to hold a conference in Paris between Charles VI of France, Sigismund, and Henry V to discuss a possible peace treaty. However, Bernard of Armagnac having lost at Valmont convinced Charles VI and the French government to reject the embassy because he believed that it was just a scheme that would result in the English gain of the territory of Harfleur. Angered by this rejection, Sigismund resorted to creating the Treaty of Canterbury with only England on the grounds that France favored the schism and opposed any peace agreement with England.[1]


Sigismund wanted to unify the Catholic Church and end the papal schism. However, he believed that the tensions between the English and French served as a major obstacle to accomplishing unification. In addition, Sigismund desired to create a united Europe to fight in a crusade against the Turks.[1]

Terms of the treaty[edit]

The treaty was signed on 15 August 1416. Henry V and Sigismund pledged to each other that they would provide support in order to gain back any territories held by the French. The subjects of both rulers were given the ability to freely trade and move among each other's lands. They agreed that neither side would harbor traitors or rebels of the other but would aid each other during an invasion.[1]


The Treaty of Canterbury, by favoring England and denouncing France, effectively ended the friendship between the house of Luxembourg and France, which Sigismund’s grandfather, John of Bohemia, had established.[2] However, before the end of Henry V’s reign, the policies established with the Treaty of Canterbury were abandoned because Sigismund became more involved in the Council of Constance and his control over the Bohemian territory and less concerned with English-French politics. All of these distractions meant Sigismund was never able to create any military support and that the true intent of the treaty was not fulfilled.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Wagner, John (2006). Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-313-32736-X. 
  2. ^ Creighton, Mandell (1882). A History of the Papacy During the Period of the Reformation, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin. pp. 366–368. 

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