The Hundred Years War
The conflict known as the Hundred Years War began in May 1337 and lasted until October 1453 and was interrupted for 6 years in the middle because of the plague. This war helped shape France and England for the decades and centuries to come. Before the war, neither country, especially France, really had much of a national identity. Both would come out of the war with a much stronger one.
The Hundred Years War was started when the English King Edward III asserted a claim on the French throne after Charles IV had died with the idea of having England and France united under one king. The French did not want then fifteen-year-old Edward on the throne, so they chose Charles III's first cousin Philip VI of Valois. Other causes of the war were that England and France had lands in close proximity to one another.
England and France also quarreled over the area known as Flanders. Flanders was a French fief, but was subject to political influence from England because manufacturing cloth was its biggest industry, and it was dependent on English wool.
Both the French and the English had weaknesses and strengths during the Hundred Years War. The French strengths were that they had three times the population of England, was far wealthier of the two countries, and they fought on their own soil. Even with these great strengths, the French lost the greater part of the war until after 1415. The reason for this was that France had weaknesses of internal disunity and they were struggling in the transition to a modern state. England's strengths included military superiority. The English infantry was much more disciplined than the French and the English archers carried a powerful weapon, the longbow, which could fire...