Congress of Arras

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Congress of Arras
Français 5054, fol. 86, Conférences d'Arras (1435).jpg
Small 15th century illustration from Vigiles de Charles VII depicting the congress
Type Peace congress
Context Hundred Years' War
Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War
Date 5 August – 21 September 1435 (1435-08-05 – 1435-09-21)[1]
Place Arras, County of Artois, France
Parties France moderne.svg Kingdom of France
Royal Arms of England (1399-1603).svg Kingdom of England
Arms of Philippe le Bon.svg Duchy of Burgundy
Outcome The English walked out after no agreement was reached
Treaty of Arras between France and Burgundy

The Congress of Arras was a diplomatic congregation established at Arras in the summer of 1435 during the Hundred Years' War, between representatives of England, France, and Burgundy. Toward the close of the Hundred Years' War, both the Congress and the subsequent Treaty of Arras represented diplomatic failures for England and major successes for France.

Congregation

English negotiators entered the congress believing it was a peace negotiation between England and France only. They proposed an extended truce and a marriage between adolescent King Henry VI of England and a daughter of French king Charles VII of France. The English were unwilling to renounce their claim to the crown of France. This position prevented meaningful negotiation. The English delegation broke off from the congress in mid-session to put down a raid by French captains Xaintrailles and La Hire.

Meanwhile, the French delegation and leading clergy urged Philip the Good of Burgundy to reconcile with Charles VII. Burgundy was an appanage at the time, virtually an independent state, and had been allied with England since the murder of Philip's father in 1419. Charles VII had been at least complicit in that crime. The English delegation returned to find that their ally had switched sides. English regent John, Duke of Bedford, at this point the only man keeping the Anglo-Burgundian alliance standing, died on 14 September 1435, one week before the congress concluded.

Participants

For the English

and their prisoners, Duke of Orleans, Count of Eu

For the French

Representing Charles VII:

For Burgundy:

Among the possibly as many as 58 who attended for the French,[5] Guidon VII, seigneur de la Roche Guyon, and Gilles de Duremont, Abbot of Fécamp, may also have been present.

Mediating

Niccolò Albergati, Cardinal of Cyprus[6]

Treaty of Arras

Treaty of Arras
Type Peace treaty
Context Hundred Years' War
Signed 21 September 1435 (1435-09-21)
Location Arras, County of Artois
Mediators Niccolò Albergati
Signatories Philip the Good Arms.svg Burgundian party
Blason France moderne.svg Armagnac party

The congress gave rise to the second Treaty of Arras,[7] which was signed on 20/21 September 1435 and became an important diplomatic achievement for the French in the closing years of the Hundred Years' War. Overall, it reconciled a longstanding feud between King Charles VII of France and Duke Philip III of Burgundy (Philip the Good). Philip recognized Charles VII as king of France and, in return, Philip was exempted from homage to the crown, and Charles agreed to punish the murderers of Philip's father Duke John I of Burgundy (John the Fearless).[8]

By breaking the alliance between Burgundy and England, Charles VII consolidated his position as King of France against a rival claim by Henry VI of England. The political distinction between Armagnacs and Burgundians ceased to be significant from this time onward. France already had Scotland as an ally and England was left isolated. From 1435 onward, English rule in France underwent steady decline.

The congress' limited success was facilitated by representatives of Pope Eugene IV and the Council of Basel Members of each of these delegations wrote legal opinions absolving Duke Philip of Burgundy from his former obligations to England.

Provisions

Charles VII disavowed participation in the assassination of Duke John of Burgundy (John the Fearless) of the Duchy of Burgundy, father of Duke Philip of Burgundy (Philip the Good), and condemned the act and promised to punish the perpetrators.

Furthermore, the following domains became vassal states of the Duke of Burgundy:

In return, the Duchy of Burgundy recognized Charles VII as King of France and returned the County of Tonnerre. Also, Philip the Good was exempted from rendering homage, fealty, or service to Charles VII, as he still believed that the king may have been complicit in his father's murder. Upon the death of either the king or the duke the homage would be resumed.

See also

References

  1. ^ Vaughan 2004, p. 98.
  2. ^ Russell 1972, p. 28.
  3. ^ Russell 1972, p. 3.
  4. ^ Russell 1972, p. 6.
  5. ^ Russell 1972, p. 10.
  6. ^ Russell 1972, pp. 37–56.
  7. ^ Russell 1972, p. 5.
  8. ^ Kirk 1863, p. 36.


  • Kirk, John Foster (1863). History of Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy. J.B. Lippincott & Co. 
  • Russell, J. (1972) [1955]. The Congress of Arras, 1435: A Study in Medieval Diplomacy. New York: Biblo & Tannen. ISBN 978-0-8196-0281-7. 
  • Vaughan, Richard (2004). Philip the Good (reprinted new ed.). Boydell Press. ISBN 978-0-85115-917-1. 

Further reading

External links

  • WarsoftheRoses.co.uk: A book excerpt covering the era
  • Gutenberg.org: A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 3by François Pierre Guillaume Guizot.
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