Edward III: Troubles with Scotland and France

Troubles with Scotland and France

Edward, who had gone to Scotland on an unsuccessful expedition in 1327, resented the terms of the Treaty of Northampton (1328), by which he had renounced the Scottish throne, and decided to support Edward de Baliol against the young Scottish king David II. King Edward's victory at Halidon Hill in 1333 did not settle the Scottish question, but trouble with France arose to divide his attention.

The series of wars known as the Hundred Years War, which was to dominate Edward's reign, began in 1337. Disputes over English holdings in France, trouble between the great Flemish weaving cities (allies of the English) and their French overlords, and French aid to the Scots were the chief causes of the war. Edward's assumption of the title of king of France in 1340, based on a claim through his mother, which was first advanced in 1328, was an immediate provocation. Edward took an active part in the war, fighting in the naval victory of Sluis (1340), in the famous battle of Crécy (1346), and in the successful siege of Calais (1346–47). His son, the Black Prince, achieved a popular reputation for his exploits, such as his victory at Poitiers (1356), where he captured the French king, John II. The fighting continued sporadically even after the Treaty of Brétigny (1360), by which Edward was awarded a large ransom for the French king and large concessions of French territory. In 1369, Charles V of France renewed the war, but Edward now took less interest in it. Various factors, among them the poor health of the Black Prince, led to a truce in 1375.

Wars with the Scots, who had been receiving French aid, continued in a desultory manner. In 1346 the English had won a victory at Neville's Cross in England and made a prisoner of David II; in 1356, Edward had gone into Scotland on a harrying expedition known as Burnt Candlemas. Like the French wars, however, the Scottish wars were inconclusive in Edward's reign.

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