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Treaty of Brétigny

The Treaty of Brétigny, concluded on May 8 1360, between Edward III of England and John II of France, marked the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War (1337 - 1453). The Treaty of Bretigny marked the high water of English hegemony in France, in the wake of the battle of Poitiers (September 19. 1356), in which John was taken prisoner. The ensuing conflicts in Paris between Stephen Marcel and the Dauphin (later Charles V of France, and the outbreak of the peasant revolt called the Jacquerie, weakened French bargaining power.

The exactions of the English, who wished to yield as few as possible of the advantages claimed by them in the abortive treaty of London the year before, made negotiations difficult, and the discussion of terms begun early in April lasted more than a month. By virtue of this treaty Edward III obtained, besides Guienne and Gascony, Poitou, Saintonge and Aunis, Agenais, Périgord, Limousin, Quercy, Bigorre, the countship of Gaure, Angoumois, Rouergue, Montreuil-sur-mer, Ponthieu, Calais, Sangatte, Ham and the countship of Guines. John II had, moreover, to pay three million gold crowns for his ransom. The occasion was the first minting of the franc, equivalent to one livre (pound) tournois containing 20 sous, a standard money of account.

On his side the king of England gave up the duchies of Normandy and Touraine, the countships of Anjou and Maine, and the suzerainty of Brittany and of Flanders. As a guarantee for the payment of his ransom, John the Good gave as hostages two of his sons, several princes and nobles, four inhabitants of Paris, and two citizens from each of the nineteen principal towns of France. This treaty was ratified and sworn to by the two kings and by their eldest sons on October 24 1360, at Calais. At the same time were signed the special conditions relating to each important article of the treaty, and the renunciatory clauses in which the kings abandoned their rights over the territory they had yielded to one another.

The treaty of Brétigny procured France several years’ repose. In the following years, hostilities at first obtained only between French, the Anglo-Navarrais (Bertrand du Guesclin’s victory at Cocherel, May 16, 1364) and the Bretons.

When one of the hostages escaped from England, John II chivalrously gave himself up. He died in honorable captivity in 1364, whereupon Charles V became king of France. In 1369, on the pretext that Edward III had failed to observe the terms of the treaty of Brétigny, the king of France declared war once again.

By the time of the death of Edward III in 1377, English forces had been pushed back into their territories in the south-west around Bordeaux.


Part of this text from Encyclopedia Britannica 1911