Battle of Poitiers

The Battle of Poitiers was fought between a French army commanded by King John II and an Anglo-Gascon force under Edward, the Black Prince on 19 September 1356 during the Hundred Years' War. It was fought 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Poitiers in western France. Approximately 14,000–16,000 French attacked a strong defensive position held by 3,000 English and 3,000 Gascons. The French were heavily defeated.

Battle of Poitiers
Part of the Hundred Years' War

The Battle of Poitiers, by Eugène Delacroix
Date19 September 1356
Location
Near Poitiers, France
46.53°N 0.4°E / 46.53; 0.4
Result English victory
Belligerents
Kingdom of England Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Edward, the Black Prince John II (POW)
Strength
6,000 14,000–16,000
Casualties and losses
Few
  • More than 4,500 nobles killed or captured
  • Many common infantry killed or wounded

Nineteen years after the start of the war the Black Prince, the eldest son and heir of the English King, set out on a major campaign in south-west France. They marched from Bergerac to the Loire, which they were unable to cross. John gathered a large and unusually mobile army and pursued the Anglo-Gascons. The English established a strong defensive position near Poitiers and were attacked.

John was captured, as was one of his sons and according to different sources 2,000 to 3,000 men-at-arms. 2,500 French nobles were killed, as were an unknown but large number of common soldiers. The surviving French dispersed while the Anglo-Gascons continued their withdrawal to Gascony. The following spring a two-year truce was agreed and the Black Prince escorted John to London. Populist revolts broke out across France. Negotiations to end the war and ransom John dragged out and Edward launched a further campaign in 1359. During this both sides compromised and the Treaty of Brétigny was agreed by which vast areas of France were ceded to England, to be personally ruled by the Black Prince, and John was ransomed for three million gold écu. At the time this seemed to end the war, but the French initiated a resumption of hostilities in 1369 and recaptured most of the territory lost. The war did not end until 1453, with a French victory.


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