Joan of Arc nicknamed the ‘Maid of Orleans’ was a legendary figure in France during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War. Her actions at the Siege of Orleans helped the French remove the English from France.
She had visions as a young child that led her actions in battle against the English in the early portion of the 15th century. Joan of Arc was later canonized as a Saint in the Catholic Church.
Joan of Arc was born in 1412 C.E. in Domremy, France. Her father was Jacques d’Arc who was a farmer and minor government official. She learned to sew at a young age from her mother Isabelle Romee.
When Joan of Arc was 12 years old she had a vision of Archangel Michael who instructed her to fight against the English. She continued to have visions of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Margaret. Each vision pushed her closer to helping restore the crown of France to Charles VII at Rheims. She continued to have visions for several years until she acted when she turned 16 years old.
At the time of her visions the northern portions of France were controlled by the Burgundians who were allies of England. Also, there had not been a crowned King of France since the death of Charles VI in 1422 C.E. Even after leaving his throne to his daughter Dauphin Charles.
Instead, the crown was given to Henry VI of England after the Treaty of Troyes that was signed between King Henry V and King Charles VI in 1420 C.E.
The terms of the treaty tried to end the bloodshed of the Hundred Years’ War and unite both kingdoms under Henry VI which in turn ended the line of succession to Dauphin Charles. The treaty did not sit well with numerous French nobles.
Joan of Arc decided to travel and try to meet with Charles VII to help form an army to defeat the English. Her first attempt in 1428 C.E. failed when she asked Count Baudricourt in a local town near her home.
Never wavering in her convictions, Joan of Arc returned and told Count Baudricourt the French would lose the Battle of Rouvray. After the French lost this battle Baudricourt took Joan of Arc to the city of Chinon to speak with Charles VII.
At this point Joan of Arc started dressing like a man to ensure her passage through dangerous territory. She also became an accomplished horseback rider and learned how to fight with various weapons.
When she met with Charles VII at Chinon he was suspicious of her visions. He did not know if she crazy or a true messenger from God.
was questioned by several high ranking officials of the Church. With the advice of his Church council, Charles VII decided to allow her to enter battle with the soldiers.
Charles VII sent Joan of Arc to assist the French at the Siege of Orleans. Before her arrival at Orleans, the French had tried only one offensive against the English. Upon her arrival, the French went on the attack.
The French attacked two outlying fortresses held by the English and were successful in defeating the English. From there the French attacked an outlying monastery.
On the eighth day after her arrival the French broke the English stronghold. During the battles Joan of Arc was wounded between her neck and shoulder but she continued to fight forward.
When Joan of Arc had met with Charles VII, she claimed she would show a sign from God. The breaking of the Siege of Orleans was deemed to be that sign from God.
She continued to forge forward to Rheims with her army of soldiers. As they fought toward Rheims, her army grew larger and Charles VII was crowned King of France in Rheims.
Joan of Arc moved forward to defend the city of Compiegne against the Burgundians. While fighting she was later captured and set to England for trial. During the trial the English portrayed Joan of Arc as a heretic.
No matter how hard they tried, the English court could not find something to prove she was a heretic, other than she wore men’s clothing. The English court believed that was enough to sentence her to death. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in May of 1431 C.E. in Rouen.
Joan of Arc was canonized into sainthood at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 C.E.
12 years old
Saint Michael, Saint Margaret and Saint Catherine
The Siege of Orleans
Maid of Orleans