Breton Succession, War of the

Breton Succession, War of the,

1341–65, an important episode of the Hundred Years WarHundred Years War,
1337–1453, conflict between England and France. Causes

Its basic cause was a dynastic quarrel that originated when the conquest of England by William of Normandy created a state lying on both sides of the English Channel. In the 14th cent.
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. Duke John III of Brittany died in 1341 without heirs. The succession was contested by his half-brother, John de Montfort, who was backed by Edward III of England, and by Charles of BloisCharles of Blois
(Charles of Châtillon) , c.1319–1364, duke of Brittany; nephew of Philip VI of France. He was one of the chief participants in the War of the Breton Succession and was killed at the battle of Auray. An extremely pious man, he has been beatified.
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, who had married Jeanne de Penthièvre, a niece of the late duke. Charles and Jeanne were supported by Philip VI, John II, and Charles V of France. The resulting war continued through several truces. In the battle of Auray (1364), Charles of Blois was defeated and killed, despite the support of his faithful follower, Bertrand Du GuesclinDu Guesclin, Bertrand
, c.1320–80, constable of France (1370–80), greatest French soldier of his time. A Breton, he initially served Charles of Blois in the War of the Breton Succession.
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. The issue was settled by the Treaty of Guérande in 1365, when the Montfort heir was recognized by France as ruler of Brittany. An attempt (1378–79) by Charles V to confiscate Brittany for the French crown met the resistance of the Bretons and of Jeanne de Penthièvre. Du Guesclin, who commanded the royal army, made no serious effort to subdue the Bretons, and the attempt failed.