By Derek Wilson
England, 1154. As Henry II seizes the throne after years of turmoil, a brand new dynasty is poised to haul this hitherto turbulent state out from the darkish a long time and remodel it into the kingdom nation we realize this day. that includes a few of England's maximum but in addition so much infamous kings, the home of Plantagenet could reign for over three hundred blood-soaked, but foundational, years.
The dynasty presents probably the most evocative names in our background: from the courageous but rash Richard the Lionheart, his treacherous brother John, the hapless Richard II, and the hero of Agincourt Henry V, via to the arguable Richard III. And during this authoritative, clever and grippingly written booklet, acclaimed historian Derek Wilson brings this exciting period to existence.
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Extra resources for The Plantagenets : the kings that made Britain
England’s other difference was, of course, that it was separated from the continent by a stretch of water that constituted a formidable barrier to invasion. Armies could move with comparative ease between Gascony, Poitou, Anjou, Maine and Normandy, but transporting them across the Channel was a complex and costly logistical exercise. This worked in the Angevins’ favour. While an invader had to bring all his troops and supplies with him, the English king, when campaigning on the continent, could call on the support of his subjects there.
Discord between the two kings was put on hold in October 1187 when, in response to an appeal from Pope Urban III, they agreed jointly to mount a crusade. All Christendom had been shocked by the news that the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem had been conquered by the Muslim leader, Saladin. Advance contingents were mustered and despatched to the Holy Land while Henry and Philip Augustus imposed a new tax, the Saladin tithe, to pay for a full-scale expedition. This was bitterly resented, and Henry faced the prospect, after many years of internal peace, that his English barons might, once more, rise against him.
For these reasons and also because he wanted to be reconciled to his sons, he behaved leniently towards the rebels. He laboured hard and long to bring about a cessation of hostilities. On 8 September Louis and young Henry agreed terms with the king, but Richard continued his resistance. Only when Henry appeared with an army before the gates of Poitiers, Richard’s headquarters, did the recalcitrant son submit to the inevitable. By the terms of the settlement, sealed at Falaise in October, prisoners were released, properties restored and few punishments exacted.