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The Sea as European Diplomatic, Political and Economical Battlefield in the Times of the Hundred Years War

The Sea as European Diplomatic, Political and Economical Battlefield in the Times of the Hundred Years War

By Raphaela Averkorn

The Sea in European History, edited by Luc François and Ann Katherine Isaacs (University of Pisa, 2001)

Introduction: In the Middle Ages, in the times of the Hundred Years War, the sea and especially the Channel became quite important. Normally only the great land-battles like Crécy (1346), Poitiers (1356) and Azincourt or Agincourt (1415) which were won by the English king, are well known. What happened on sea during these years is less known and less studied but indeed the Channel, the waterway between England and France, played an important role during that conflict. Here we will not deal with military history, but will discuss other aspects such as the political and economical importance of the sea in the struggle between European kingdoms. First of all it is important to give a brief summary of the origins of the Hundred Years War and its different phases. In a further paragraph the origins of navies in England, France and Castile will be discussed because these kingdoms were the most important participants in the sea-war which took place in the Channel. In a special paragraph the question the importance of the sea as an economic factor will be analysed briefly. Then we will treat the political importance of the Channel during the 14th and 15th century. The following paragraph will present some important sea-battles of the Hundred Years War and then a conclusion will be given. Some maps, pictures, a chronology, a reading list and some important extracts of sources are added.

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