Ch 04 The Decline of Feudalism

Ch.04-The Decline of Feudalism

Hits: 1944

CHAPTER IV: THE DECLINE OF FEUDALISM

SECTION 4: THE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR


WHEREAS THE WARS IN WALES AND SCOTLAND WERE MEDIEVAL WARS OF APPROPRIATION, THE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR WAS A NEW KIND: PRIMARILY A TRADE WAR; ONLY ON THE SURFACE A WAR OF CONQUEST.

EDWARD III CLAIMED THE FRENCH CROWN BUT WAS HARDLY TAKEN SERIOUSLY.


SWITCHING FOREIGN POLICY FROM SCOTLAND TO FRANCE AND FLANDERS WAS ABOUT OBTAINING WEALTH, TRADE AND POLITICAL INFLUENCE.

THE OTHER IMPORTANT FACT WAS THAT THE WAR TOOK A HUNDRED YEARS TO RESOLVE. IT WAS NOT A CASE OF FIGHTING FOR ONE HUNDRED YEARS.

 

IN 1327, THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT, BY PROHIBITING THE EXPORT OF WOOL TO FLANDERS, PRODUCED AN IMMEDIATE CRISIS THAT COULD ONLY BE COMPARED WITH THE COTTON FAMINE IN LANCASHIRE AT THE TIME OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.

IN 1328, THE FIRST BATTLES AT CRECY, POITIERS AND LATER AGINCOURT HAD MIXED SUCCESS. EDWARD GAVE UP HIS CLAIM TO THE FRENCH CROWN AND WAS UNABLE TO SECURE FLANDERS.

 

A STALEMATE LASTED UNTIL 1369 WHEN FOR NINE YEARS NO SINGLE BATTLE TOOK PLACE.

 

THE ENGLISH FOUND RESISTANCE IN EVERY FOREIGN VILLAGE.

 

EDWARD III DIED IN 1377, AND THE WAR WAS NOT REVIVED UNTIL 1415 BY HENRY V DUE TO THE EXHAUSTION OF THE COUNTRY AFTER 40 YEARS OF ALMOST UNBROKEN WAR.

WHILE IT IS TRUE THE PRESTIGE OF ARMOURED FEUDAL CAVALRY RECEIVED ITS DEATH BLOW, THE RESULT OF THE WAR WAS A DISASTER FOR ENGLAND IN FRANCE.

 

THE FRENCH CROWN EMERGED STRONGER, AND, INSTEAD OF ONLY BEING A SUPPLIER OF RAW MATERIALS, ENGLAND WAS FORCED INTO MANUFACTURING, AND THE WOOLEN INDUSTRY WAS ESTABLISHED.

FOREIGN WEAVERS WERE ENCOURAGED TO COME TO ENGLAND AND MANUFACTURE CLOTH.

 

BY THE 15th CENTURY, ENGLAND WAS SUPPLYING MOST OF HER OWN NEEDS AND BEGINNING TO EXPORT CLOTH.

FEUDALISM DECLINED FURTHER, AND KNIGHTS IN ARMOUR WERE ROBBED OF THEIR SUPERIORITY.

 

IT WAS NOT THE INVENTION OF GUNPOWDER BUT THE LONGBOW THAT PLACED THE PEASANT ARCHER ON TERMS OF EQUALITY WITH HIS LORD.

 

GUNPOWDER WAS IMPORTANT AS A SIEGE WEAPON, DEPRIVING THE CASTLE OF ITS INVULNERABILITY.


THE HAND GUN OR MUSKET DID NOT APPEAR UNTIL THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGES BECAUSE OF ITS INFERIORITY TO THE LONG BOW FOR ACCURACY. HOWEVER, WAR BECAME MORE INDUSTRIALISED EMPLOYING MORE SOPHISTICATED INSTRUMENTS.


TROOPS WERE HIRED ON A REGULAR BASIS. ARCHERS ON FOOT AT 3d PER DAY, MOUNTED MEN 6d PER DAY.

 

DEVELOPMENTS IN WAR BECAME EXPENSIVE AND REQUIRED MORE MONEY FROM THE TOWN BURGESSES.

ARMS WERE WEAPONS OF THE TOWNS, BUT DEVELOPMENT FROM FEUDAL WARS TO NATIONAL WARS HASTENED FURTHER THE FEUDAL DECLINE.

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