The Hundred Years’ War is just a name that implies over a hundred years of war. It’s actually nearly 300 years of war when you count both Hundred Years’ Wars and the battle surrounding them.
Did the Hundred Year War Actually Last a Hundred Years?
The Hundred Years’ War lasted from 1337 to 1453, 116 years. The Second Hundred Years’ War lasted from 1688–1815, 137 years. In other words, it is a myth the Hundred Years’ War lasted a hundred years; both Hundred Years’ Wars lasted over a hundred years.
Unfortunately, both wars received the same name by historians.
TIP: It is Hundred Years’ War, not Hundred Year.
What Were the Hundred Years’ Wars?
The Hundred Years’ Wars are a series of wars fought between England and France over succession to the French throne. The First Hundred Years’ War starts with King Edward the III of England declaring himself King of France and ends with the French pushing England almost completely out of France. The Second Hundred Years’ Wars also involve America, Spain, and other parts of the world at the time. These end with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815.
Fighting and war was the primary occupation of Europe between the High Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. There was a short partial respite for the Renaissance, see The Wars of the Roses 1455 to 1487 over the throne in England. After this came the House of Tudor until the early 1600’s. Other battles during this period aside, the relative peace, prosperity, and trade during the Renaissance was good as this was the environment in which the intellectual movement that led to our modern system of Government in the West was able to thrive. The printing press was notably invented in the West at this time, although early presses existed in China a little earlier.
One might note that not even a hundred years later the World Wars began, the main difference being this time that America, England, and France were on the same side.
You can learn more facts about the wars from historyextra.com. Watch the videos below for great introductions to this vast swath of European history.Hundred Years’ War in Three Minutes
FACT: The Second Hundred Years’ War was the European war over liberalism. This war lasted from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (which marks the beginning of the era of modern democratic governments) and ended with the defeat of the liberal dictator Napoleon, who took power shortly after the French Revolution. See our page on “the birth of liberalism.”Second Hundred Years’ War Lecture
TIP: These wars happened so long ago you might not recognize names of factions. Through generations of assimilation and mixing, different types of French, English, and other Europeans merge. See: the Normans, Franks, the Roman-Gaulish populations, and the Carolingian-based cultures of West Francia. Saracens and Byzantines, the list goes on. Essentially, when Rome Falls in the 600’s, the Europeans change and develop into the European nations and cultures we know today. The Hundred Years’ Wars are an important part of that story, as is the Renaissance, Age of Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial and Modern (computing) eras.