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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

September 19th, 1356 – The Battle of Poitiers

Conflict: Hundred Years' War

Combatants: English vs. French

Location: France

Outcome: English victory

Following raids deep into France and burdened with plunder, Edward, the Black Prince of England, began retreating toward the Channel. A French army, free from trains of loot, pursued. On September 17th, the English army encountered the French rear guard near the city of Poitiers and Edward, recognizing his troops could no longer outrun the enemy, prepared for battle. After a day of rest, the two armies clashed on September 19th. Successive waves of French knights were cut down by English longbowman until the archers ran out of ammunition. A final attack, led by the French King John II, nearly broke the English line but a timely attack on the rear by an enveloping maneuver drove the French into rout. The French lost some 5,000 troops killed and captured. The English likely lost around 1,000 men.

Battle Poitiers (1356) by Loyset Liédet

Points of Interest:

  • John II was one of those captured. He was sent to England and later ransomed for three million gold crowns.

  • The Peace of Bretigny was signed in 1360 granting English King Edward III sovereignty over Aquitaine, Calais, and Ponthieu.

Prince Edward (1330–1375), Prince of Wales, ‘The Black Prince’ by Jan van Belcamp

Portrait of Jean le Bon (John II), King of France by an unknown artist

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