III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 6. Western Europe, 1300–1500 > c. France
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1312)
c. France
LOUIS X (the Quarrelsome). The real ruler was Louis's uncle, Charles of Valois. A reaction against the monarchy forced concessions from the king.  1
Louis was succeeded by his posthumous son, John I, who lived only a few days. Louis's daughter by his first wife, Jeanne, was also an infant. A great national council awarded the crown to Louis's brother.  2
PHILIP V (the Tall). There were frequent meetings of assemblies that included burghers. Philip, in an enormous number of royal ordinances, gave definitive form to the Capetian government. He left no male heir.  3
CHARLES IV (the Fair), the last Capetian of the direct line, succeeded his brother Philip, to the exclusion of Edward III of England, grandson of Philip IV. This established the principle, later called the Salic Law, that the throne could pass only through males. On Charles's death, an assembly of barons declared that “no woman nor her son could succeed to the monarchy.”  4
PHILIP VI (nephew of Philip IV, son of Charles of Valois), the nearest male heir. Jeanne, daughter of Louis X, became queen of Navarre. Brittany, Flanders, Guienne, and Burgundy remained outside the royal sway. The papacy was under French influence; rulers of the Capetian house of Anjou were seated on the thrones of Naples, Provence, and Hungary; Dauphiné, the first important imperial fief added to French territory, was purchased (1336). The king had become less accessible; the kingdom, regarded as a possession rather than an obligation, was left to the administration of the royal bureaucracy.  5
The Hundred Years' War. English commercial dominance in Flanders precipitated a political crisis. The communes made the count of Flanders, Louis of Nevers, prisoner (1325–26); Philip marched to his relief, massacred the burghers on the field of Cassel (1328), and established French administration in Flanders. Edward III retorted with an embargo on wool exports from England (1336); the weavers of Ghent, under the wealthy Jan van Arteveldt, became virtual masters of the country and made a commercial treaty with England (1338). On van Arteveldt's insistence, Edward declared himself king of France; the Flemings recognized him as their sovereign, and made a political alliance with him (1340).  6
Philip declared Edward's French fiefs forfeited and invested Guienne. Edward was made vicar of the empire, and his title as king of France was recognized by the emperor. Thus began the Hundred Years' War, really a series of wars with continuous common objectives: the retention of their French “empire” by the English, the liberation of their soil by the French.  7
Philip, by dismissing two squadrons of Levantine mercenary ships, lost his mastery of the Channel until 1372 and was overwhelmingly defeated by Edward at the naval battle of Sluys (June 24) on Scheldt estuary on (modern) Belgian border. This opened the Channel to the English and gave them free access to northern France.  8
A dynastic contest in Brittany, in which both Edward and Philip intervened.  9
First collection of the gabelle (salt tax) in France; increasing war levies and mounting dissatisfaction.  10
Edward's invasion of Normandy and overwhelming victory at Crécy, Aug. 26 (10,000 English defeated some 20,000 French) (See 1346, Aug. 26). The French military system was outmoded, the people unaccustomed to arms, and the cavalry inefficient. Blind King John of Bohemia was slain. Artillery came into use (1335–45). Continued war levies led to open refusal (1346) of a grant by the estates of Langue d'Oïl, and a demand for reforms. The king attempted some reforms.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.