Henry VII - Brittany and the War with France

Summary of dates, notes and actions of Henry VII's relationship with France.

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  • Brittany was a semi-independant state in north-west France
    • ruled by the Dukes of Brittany, overseen by French monarchy
  • Duke Francis of Brittany supported rebels against the French monarch
    • as King Charles VIII was a minor, France was governed by the regent Anne of Beaujeu
  • 1487 - French invaded
    • wanted to support a marriage between heiress Anne of Brittany and the young King Charles VIII of France
  • 1488 - Duke Francis died
    • Young Duchess Anne looked to foreign powers for support
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Problems for Henry VII

  • England and Brittany had strong trading links
  • French control of Breton ports would be a strategic threat to England
    • the prevailing wind from Brittany to Dover would make it easy for France to attack by sea
  • the expansion of France over the last 50 years posed an increasing threat to England
  • Henry felt the need to intervene on Brittany's behalf 
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The Treaties


  • Treaty of Redon
    • England-Brittany
    • Duchess Anne promised to pay the cost for 6,000 English troops
    • towns of Morlaix and Concarneau handed over as guarantees
  • Treaty of Medina del Campo
    • England-Spain
    • mutual alliance, not to harbour rebels
    • joint war with France and neither side to make a separate peace
    • marriage between Arthur and Catherine
  • Treaty of Dordrecht
    • England-Burgundy
    • cemented the Anglo-Burgundian alliance
    • confirmed at the Treaty of Woking, 1490
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  • 1489 - English troops arrived in Brittany
  • 1490 - Spanish troops arrive in Brittany
    • soon withdrawn due to commitments in Spain
    • in hope of an ally, Duchess Anne married Maxmilian of Hapsburg by proxy
  • 1491 - French victory; Duchess Anne married to Charles VIII
  • 1492 - Henry VII landed troops in Calais and began to beseige Boulogne
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1492 - Treaty of Etaples

  • Charles VIII was planning an attack on Naples and wanted to ensure peace with England to enable this
  • France to pay England £150,000 in installments of £5,000 p.a.
  • Henry was to withdraw his army, but not his claim to the French throne
  • Charles VIII was not to harbour Yorkist rebels
  • France to pay Breton debts to England

  • 1498 - Charles VIII died. Louis XII succeeded him, and promised:
    • to be bound by the Treaty of Etaples
    • to pay Henry's pension
    • to keep out Yorkist rebels 
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