Thursday, August 6, 2015

The War of Breton Succession: Conclusion

[Click here for the start, here for part two.]

The Battle of Auray, from an edition of Froissart's Chronicles
Things were not looking good for the Montfort faction. Although John Montfort was released from prison on 1 September 1343 in exchange for a large sum of money, there was a condition that he stay in the east and not take part in the fighting conducted by the Montfortist faction on the Breton coast that saw him as the true Duke of Brittany.

The Montfortists were falling apart, however, and only maintaining their position with the help of the English forces whose help they had accepted. The other claimant to Brittany, Charles of Blois, did his best to assert himself, attacking Breton cities. English soldiers were held for ransom, but Breton citizens who had fought against him were executed for treason. With opposition to Charles looking less and less like a wise career move, the Montfortists began to fall apart, and John "broke parole" and fled to England in March 1345.

In 1345, however, Edward III of England decided to break the truce that he had promised to France during that early stage of the Hundred Years War. He sent troops to Brittany with John of Montfort as one of the leaders. At this point, the War of Breton Succession becomes subsidiary to the Hundred Years War, with the Kings of England and France lending support to the side in whom they had the most stake.

Without dragging out the story too long (except I must address the Combat of the Thirty soon): After a long series of attempts to satisfy everyone involved, on 29 September 1364 John of Montfort (son of the John of Montfort mentioned above) captured Auray, and then defended it when Charles of Blois showed up. In the Battle of Auray, Charles' forces were decisively defeated, and Charles himself fled. A year later, the King of France officially gave his support to John as Duke of Brittany.

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