The Battle of Bouvines

On 27 July 1214 the forces of the French king Philip II crushed an army composed of Imperial, English, and Flemish soldiers under the leadership of Otto IV of Germany, ending the 12-year Angevin-Flanders War and destroying England’s Angevin empire. Back in 1212, Ferdinand, the Infante of Portugal, lost the cities of Aire-su-la-Lys and Saint-Omer under the terms of the Treaty of Pont-a-Vendin. Predictably, he … Continue reading The Battle of Bouvines

London Bridge is Burning Down…

Once upon a time, London looked like a city built by the two dumbest of the three little pigs: it was essentially a place of sticks and straw. To be fair, this isn’t because the citizens were stupid, it’s because it was the middle ages and stone was expensive. But it did mean that the city was a tinderbox and, unsurprisingly, fires tended to break … Continue reading London Bridge is Burning Down…

Death of a Lion

After spending almost all of his adult life at war and then taking an arrow to the shoulder, King Richard I (the Lionhearted) died on April 6, 1199, leaving his brother John to take the throne and completely botch the job of being king. Richard was the third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, so he wasn’t expected to become king. In fact, … Continue reading Death of a Lion

The Great Charter

On June 15, 1215, King John of England put his seal to the Magna Carta in the meadow at Runnymede, after months of negotiations with his rebellious barons. The Magna Carta was the first document forced on an English king by his subjects that basically said he couldn’t do whatever the hell he wanted. In return, the barons renewed their oaths of fealty to John … Continue reading The Great Charter

Death of a King

On April 6, 1199, King Richard I of England, best known as “Richard the Lionhearted,” died of an arrow wound in France, leaving his brother, John, King of England. Richard received his fatal blow on March 25, when he was out checking the work of sappers undermining a castle he was besieging. He foolishly wasn’t wearing any chainmail, despite the fact that missiles were being … Continue reading Death of a King