THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR
1376-1385: Conspicuous State, England; Conspicuous Rival, France.
FROM 1337 to 1453 England and France were engaged in a long struggle -- the Hundred Years War. The war was not continuous, but the reasons for each conflict remained the same. Basic to the difficulty was the fact that since the twelfth century, the English kings controlled territory on the continent for which they had to recognize a king of France as suzerain. From the time of Henry II to Henry V, every English king for over three hundred years was at war at one time or another during his reign with the king of France. The English kings wanted to retain their continental possessions but did not want to go through the ceremony of giving nominal allegiance to the French king; the French kings would have preferred to oust the English kings but, unable to do so, demanded that the feudal obligations be fulfilled. Adding to the antagonisms were at least three minor and predisposing causes: the English wool trade with Flanders, the French alliance with Scotland, and the question of the English king's rights to the French throne.
Flanders was part of the French domain but depended on England to supply wool for its cloth mills. When the Count of Flanders, Louis de Maële, imposed heavy taxes, the artisans of Flanders turned to the English for help. Countering the English influence in Flanders was the French alliance with Scotland, which prevented complete English domination of the Scots. While it probably would have been physically impractical with medieval communications and transport for any one man to have effectively