Brittany Crisis 1487 to 1492

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  • Created on: 21-03-13 17:10
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Brittany Crisis 1487 to 1492
Problem:
Francis II, Duke of Brittany, wanted to protect Breton independence but didn't have a male heir.
Independence was threatened by the marriage of his daughter, Anne of Brittany, to Charles VIII
of France. On marriage and Francis's death, Charles would inherit Brittany. France was already
very powerful and this marriage in turn would only increase French power and capability.
Furthermore, the geographical location of Brittany in relation to England meant France would
pose a much bigger threat, both of an invasion and dominance in trade. This worried Europe to
the extent of Ferdinand of Spain and Habsburg Maximilian both attempting to intervene.
Following a French invasion of Brittany, the pair collectively sent 6,500 troops in a response.
Henry's Solution:
Henry could easily:
After the French victory at St Aubin du Corbier in July 1488, major European powers looked to
England to help. Henry needed to consider:
The reliability of his allies.
The opportunity to reclaim lost land.
Public opinion of himself in England.
The cost of war.
In February 1489, Henry sent 3,000 troops to defend Breton's independence. In return, Anne of
Brittany pledged not to marry or form alliances without Henry's consent. However in January
1491, Maximilian married Anne. A French attack followed and Anne was then forced to marry
Charles VIII in December.
Henry had raised £181,500 but was uncertain as to whether war was the best thing to spend it
on. He'd also promised a lot of prestige through a war. James IV of Scotland abandoned plans
for a Franco-Scottish marriage, and was now open to negotiations with England. This gave
Henry peace of mind when it came to possible threats from the North. There were several vital
reasons as to why Henry didn't go to war:
War would be draining, financially and physically.
Left Henry vulnerable to usurpation.
Was unlikely to receive support.
The Treaty of Etaples removed English troops from France. It is considered a victory on both
French and English sides as Henry benefitted with a colossal £159,000 pension, whilst Charles
obtained Burgundy and continued to rule the most powerful nation in Europe.

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