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The military and administrative leadership of the Black Prince

The military and administrative leadership of the Black Prince

By Ashley K. Tidwell

Master’s Thesis, Baylor University, 2008

Abstract: Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine (1330-1376), has been analyzed on many different levels for his military genius in battle during the Hundred Years War. Known as the Black Prince, Edward had an effective ruthlessness in battle that has made his military career and his chivalrous nature a subject of interest to historians. However, Edward was more than a military leader; he was a ruler. Becoming Prince of Aquitaine in 1362 after the Peace of Brétigny, Edward had to face a new role many have overlooked in his rather short lifetime: governor and leader of a foreign people. This role tends to be overlooked among the historical community, due in large part to the lack of primary documents. Regardless, this role was an important aspect of the prince’s life for it proved that the Black Prince had both successes and failures throughout his lifetime.

Introduction: Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine (1330-1376), has been analyzed on many different levels for his military genius in battle during the Hundred Years War. Known as the Black Prince, Edward had an effective ruthlessness in battle that has made his military career a subject of interest to historians. However, Edward was more than a military leader; he was a ruler. The prince spent many years in England as custos Angliae (the “protector of England”) while his father was at war, giving him an early exposure to government. It would seem to make sense that the prince would equally flourish in government as he did in the military. Becoming Prince of Aquitaine in 1362 after the Peace of Brétigny, Edward had to face a new role many have overlooked in his rather short lifetime: governor and leader of a foreign people. How well did he perform this role? How did his outstanding military career compare to his performance as Prince of Aquitaine? Would this have prepared him for the kingship of England had he survived his father, Edward III (r. 1327-1377)? What were his strengths and his weaknesses as a political leader? Did the fact that the principality was in France have any effect on the way Edward governed Aquitaine? These are some of the questions that bear further examination. The focus of historians has been so concentrated on the military persona of the Black Prince that one forgets Edward was also Prince of Wales and Aquitaine.

Click here to read this article from Baylor University

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