Siege of Calais, 4 September 1346-4 August 1347

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After his victory at Crecy, Edward III chose to besiege the port of Calais. Calais was the clossest French port to England, was also close to the border of Flanders, then one of Edward's allies, and was the Crepy of French naval activity that had made the Straits of Dover dangerous for English shipping. The defeat of the Scottish invasion at Neville's Cross (17 October) allowed Edward to remain before Calais over the winter. When Calais did not fall by Spring, Edward knew that Philip of France would attempt to relief the port, and to counter that he created his own line of fortifications facing inland, and increased the size of his army up to over 32,000 men, one of the largest English armies of the entire middle ages, although that size was not maintained for long. When Philip arrived with a large army in July, Edward refused to come out from behind his lines to fight another battle, and Philip, realising that he could not attack the English lines, withdrew and disbanded his army, and once news of that reached the defenders of Calais, they surrendered.

The capture of Calais gave a great boost to English efforts in the rest of the Hundred years war. It was a very convenient point from which to launch invasions, and remained in English hands for over two hundred years, until lost by Queen Mary I in 1558. The native population of the city was expelled, and replaced by settlers from England, and the place was run as part of England.

See Also - Books on the Middle Ages - Subject Index: Hundred Years War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (2 October 2000), Calais, siege of, 4 September 1346-4 August 1347, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_calais.html

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