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The Hundred Years' War, fought between two royal houses for the French throne, the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, started in 1337 and ended in 1453.

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The Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) and its influence on the English language 1. The Hundred Years' War, 1337-1453 1.1. Overview The Hundred Years' War, fought between two royal houses for the French throne, the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, started in 1337 and ended in 1453. Rather then seeing it as one long war, it should be seen as a serious of seperate wars lasting 116 years. It was punctuated by several periods of peace, but taken up again by the English several times. The common division of the Hundred Years' War is into three or four phases, starting with the Edwardian War from 1337 to 1360. After the first phase of peace from 1360 until 1369, the Caroline War lasted from 1369 until 1389. The third period, the Lancastrian War, lasted 14 years, starting in 1415. In 1453, lasting 116 years, the conflict about English possessions in France endet in the expulsion of the English from France; the only exception was the Pale of Calais. The Hundred Years' War started under Edward III. and was continued by four of his successors until the war was lost under Henry VI., establishing the House of Valois as the ruling dynasty of France. ...read more.


While the first campaign was being victorious in Crecy, Normandy, and the conquest of Calais, the second was even more successful. It results in a peace treaty in 1360 where Edward III. divests himself of the French crown but obtains the governance of South-west France, also known as the old Aquitaine. Not only were the English successful because of their modern, well equipped army, Edward III. and his son, Edward, the Black Prince, were also experienced fighters and well aware of warfare. Edward III. is rumoured to have dominated the knights festivals of his time. He is even believed to have challenged the French king to a hand-to-hand fight for the crown. Moving further into the hundred-years war, the achieved successes could not be secured. With the death of Edward, the Black Prince, in 1376, and his father Edward III., the French were able to fight back the English in Gascogne in a longstanding war, leaving the English only with a few bridgeheads. The two following English kings, namely Richard II. and Henry IV., made no attempt to win back the lost territories, domestically conflicts drawing their attention to their own country rather than fighting another. The war is taken up again by Henry V. in 1413, lasting until 1422. ...read more.


1.4. Influence on the English Language In the late 14th century, the English language replaced French in most of its territories in England. This can be underlined by the fact that even the king was speaking English again, which was not the case since the Norman Invasion in 1066 when French was becoming the language of the ruling class. Even in the parliament, one could hear a plea in English, which was being allowed again in 1362. Furthermore, English became the main language at school in 1385, and in 1423, all of the documents at Parliament were written in English. In 1489, French was abandoned as the official language at courthouses, reasons for this could be found in the events before: because of the English language becoming stronger and stronger, lawyers were not as familiar with French as they are with English. Therefore, they changed the official language at courthouses into English to avoid misunderstandings. However, this doesn't mean that French was not spoken or respected at all. The ability of speaking French was still important, giving people the option of reading French authors. What had changed was that English was the main language of England, with French and Latin being defined clearly as foreign languages. This was achieved by the new sense of national identity not least emerged out of the Hundred Years' War. ...read more.

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