1360: Massive storms impact the outcome of the Hundred Years War


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The Hundred Years War between England and France began in 1337; by 1359, King Edward III of England led a huge army across the English Channel to France. The French did not engage in any pitched battles and mainly stayed behind protective walls of towns and cities. Meanwhile Edward conquered the countryside. In April 1360, Edward’s forces reached the Paris suburbs and began to move toward Chartres and its famous cathedral. While they were camped outside the town, now a suburb of Paris, in early May, a sudden storm hit. Lightning struck, killing a number of people, then large hailstones began falling hitting the soldiers. Two of the English generals were killed and panic set in among the troops, who had no shelter from the storm. Heavy losses were suffered by the English with more than 1000 estimated dead in the stampede caused by the storm. Some said it was a sign from God. King Edward of England was convinced to negotiate peace with the French. On May 8, 1360, a treaty was signed, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War. Edward agreed to renounce all claims to the throne of France. The hail storm and thunderstorms that produced the treaty were a direct line in the signing of the treaty.

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