Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Anglo-French War (1557–1560)

Anglo-French War (1557–1560)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: England and Spain vs. France
and Pope Paul IV


DECLARATION: England declared war on France on June 7,

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: England’s alliance with
Spain, forged through royal marriage, drew English forces
into war when Rome, allied with France, engaged Spain
in war.

OUTCOME: England lost Calais to France; the French
withdrew from Scotland; and Elizabeth I was recognized
as queen of England.


CASUALTIES: At the Battle of Gravelines, France, 5,000
killed, 5,000 taken prisoner

TREATIES: Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, April 3, 1559,
and Edinburgh Treaty, 1560

The 1554 marriage of Philip II (1527–98) of Spain to Mary
I (1516–58) of England was the first link in the chain of
circumstances that led to the Anglo-French War of
1557–60. In 1556 French king Henry II (1519–59) had
joined Pope Paul IV (1476–1559) in a war against Spain.
The alliance provoked England into joining the conflict in
support of Spain’s King Philip, and on June 7, 1557,
England officially declared war on France. In England the
war was popular with the military aristocracy but highly
unpopular with the Protestant merchant classes, who
objected to it on religious as well as commercial grounds
and gave the effort little support. Indeed, the war would
prove harmful to commerce, disrupting English trade
routes in Crécy in France.
During the first months of the war England defeated
the French at St. Quentin. In an ambush of the French
constable Anne de Montmorency (1493–1567), English
and Spanish troops captured more than 7,000 French
troops around the perimeter of St. Quentin and laid siege
to the city. St. Quentin fell on August 27 when 2,000
English troops stormed the walls. Although the quick victory
boosted the English cause on the mainland, it proved
insignificant in the long run. The French, humiliated over
the loss of St. Quentin, reorganized and on January 1,
1558, captured the English fortress at Calais and the
strategic harbor base of Rysbanck. Meanwhile, Philip,
after suffering several setbacks, defeated the French at
Gravelines during the summer, killing 5,000 French
troops and taking 5,000 prisoners. Although the English
were not involved in the battle, as they were reported to
have been, Philip’s victory led to the negotiations that
ended the war.
Peace talks continued through 1558. For the English
the main issue was the return of Calais. For Philip it was
independence for the duchy of Savoy. As long as he was
married to Mary, Philip felt obligated to push for the
restoration of Calais, but her sudden death during 1558
freed him from this obligation. Thus, on April 3, 1559, the
Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed between Spain,
England, and France without the restoration of Calais to
England. The Cateau-Cambrésis agreement inspired the
signing of the Edinburgh Treaty in 1560 between England
and Scotland, which provided for complete French withdrawal
from Scotland and gained international recognition
of Elizabeth I (1533–1603), who succeeded Mary, as the
legitimate queen of England.


Further reading: Robert Tittler and Jennifer Loach,
eds., The Mid-Tudor Polity, c. 1540–1560 (Totowa, N.J.:
Rowman and Littlefield, 1980).

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