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The Hundred Years War Essay

1411 words - 6 pages

The Hundred Years War

After the Crusades, trade began to revive in Italy, largely because neither trade nor towns had declined as much there as elsewhere. As trade grew in other countries, fairs were set up as places where merchants could exchange large amounts of goods. In 1346 the bubonic plague, a fatal disease, swept through Europe killing one third of the population. The Hundred Years’ War, which began in 1337 and was between England and France, brought important developments to European culture.
In 1346 the bubonic plague, which Europeans called the Black Death, swept into Europe. It was brought to Genoa, Italy, by infected rats on board a merchant ship from a port on the ...view middle of the document...

England did not attempt to enhance it’s reputation by military and economic means, but rather focused it’s attention on improving the deteriorating health of the general public caused by disease. Many people died of the Black Death, making it impossible for England, in this state, to conquer surrounding nations or to increase wealth for power. Wars could not be fought because many men were sick and dying with this disease. In poor health, these men were unable to fight in battles, let alone win them. The wealth of the country was also unable to increase because many of the victims of the Black Death were merchants. Those merchants with this disease could not sell their goods and therefore could not make any profit in order to pay taxes for their country.
Europeans learned about auxiliary means of performing different actions. The Hundred Years’ War brought important developments. The use of two new weapons—the longbow and the cannon—weakened feudalism. The English longbow was 5 or 6 feet (1.5 or 1.8 meters) long, with a range up to 400 yards (360 meters). English foot soldiers armed with longbows completely defeated a French feudal cavalry at Agincourt in 1415. Knights on horseback were no match for foot soldiers with longbows. Europeans may have learned the use of gunpowder from the Muslims during the Crusades. To this knowledge they added the use of the gun. At first the gun was only a crude tube of wood and metal out of which exploding gunpowder hurled stones or chunks of metal. Cannons developed from these rather simple weapons. Castles no longer provided strong protection for the feudal lord and his soldiers. One powerful blast from a cannon could break through a castle’s thick walls. Europeans sought these other methods in order to make wars easier to win. With the longbow and gunpowder, battles were won and enemies defeated with ease. By traveling to other areas of the world to fight during the Hundred Years’ War, Europeans discovered these better ideas in military procedures and weapons. These helped greatly in later battles for domination. Europeans also could use weapons discovered from other cultures and add their own knowledge to them to produce a new product and introduce it to the world.
The Hundred Years’ War also brought another important development that made the culture of England better by introducing it to knowledge of new or foreign ideas and concepts. The English Parliament temporarily gained more power over the king during this war. Through its right to grant or withhold tax revenues, Parliament forced some weak English kings during time of war to agree to a number of rights: (a) Parliament, as well as the king, had to approve any restatement or change of a law; (b) Parliament gained the right to levy all taxes, and any new tax had to be proposed first by the House of Commons rather than by the House of Lords; and © the king could spend money only for the purpose for which Parliament had...

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