Edward III is known for some of the greatest victories won by the English armies during the Hundred Years War. Yet his successful campaigning came to an unusual and abrupt end. Over on our facebook page we are asking the question, what stopped Edward III’s army in its tracks?
Edward III was eager to regain all of the lands that had been lost under King John. He had a claim to the throne of France. His vision was one of a great Anglo-Norman empire. He very nearly pulled it off.
The Hundred Years War began in 1337. The first land campaigns of note happened a few years later, when Edward landed an army in Normandy. With his son, the Black Prince, also a capable leader, the English faired incredibly well.
English forces win famous victories at Crecy and Poitiers. The important port of Calais falls to the English. The new French King, John II, is captured. John signs the second Treaty of London. It grants a vast amount of land, and a ransom fee, to Edward III.
A Year later the English agree a treaty with John’s son, Charles. The English have not been defeated on the battleground. Yet the treaty relinquishes Edward’s claim to the French throne, returns much land and gives up English claims to other lands.
The English had failed to break into Paris or Reims by this point. In most circumstances the besieging army would have been able to continue laying siege. Given the English domination of the French coastline, resupply of men and supplies would have been easy. No such luck though. Having survived the Black Death, the army lost to something much less likely: what was it?
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