Centuries of extensive commerce had rendered Venice the most opulent state in Europe, and for much of the 15th century, the Republic's vast wealth and powerful navy were still the envy of most eastern Mediterranean states. Though La Serenissima lost two-thirds of her Greek possessions to Ottoman invasions in 1413, her vibrant merchant fleet still dominated trade through the Adriatic, Black Sea, northern Africa and the Levant. The tax-free trading rights Venetians had enjoyed in Byzantine territory since 1082 remained in effect after the personal union with England, and they were still Byzantium's primary creditors. During the 1341-1347 Byzantine civil war, Empress Anna of Savoy had pawned the crown jewels to Venice in return for a 30,000 ducat loan. This sum was twice the annual income of Constantinople, and succeeding emperors tended to focus on practical measures—like improving defences against the Turks—so the debt was repaid slowly, if at all.
The power of the Venetians was intimidating to their Italian neighbours, and their wealth was envied by monarchs whose realms could not rival the magnificence of their buildings, the richness of their attire, nor their splendour and elegance of living.
WAR OF THE LEAGUE OF CAMBRAY
Doge Ludovico Polani (elected 1463) had engineered the beneficial growth of the Venetian trade league, and by late 1469 it seemed as if all of southern Europe's toil and labour existed merely to fill the coffers of La Serenissima. In that year, representatives of the Duchies of Milan, Florence and Ferrara appealed to the Holy Roman Emperor for assistance in curbing Venetian economic dominance.
The Italians desired that the republic be humbled, but it was necessary—to avoid Venetian condotierri avenging themselves on their less powerful neighbours—that Austria and her allies be the public face of any aggression. The conspirators dared not approach the Pope either, for the pontiff's territories were already numerous and no one desired to see him gain the city of Venice, too. Fortunately for them the Emperor was all too willing to plunder Venice; but the republic's powerful navy (second only to the Ottomans in the eastern Mediterranean) would inevitably doom any attempt to take the city.
In early 1470 the conspirators meet in Cambray, far from the sensitive ears of Venetian spies. In order to counter the Republic's fleet, Austria seeks the use of the English navy. The enticement dangled before Jane's ambassador is the recovery of Byzantium's crown jewels and the annulment of the enormous Venetian-held Greek debt. Eager to improve the finances of the Greek dominions, London takes the bait. When war is declared in April of 1470, the League's public members include Austria, England, Moldavia, Wallachia and Brandenburg. Venice's defenders are a motley collection of states alarmed by Austria's adventurism, including the neighbouring Kingdom of Hungary and the imperial free city of Straßburg (Alsace). Due to the size of their realm and proximity to Austria, the Hungarians insist upon leading the defensive alliance.
Soon after the declaration of war, Matthew Smith—Viscount Carrington of Burford—leads a squadron of 10 carracks and 10 pinnaces from Portsmouth to Malta Station. La Serenissima does not, however, intend to wait patiently and passively for destruction. When Smith's squadron arrives in late June, spies pass the word back to the Venetian fleet and it sorties immediately. On June 27th, the Venetians pounce upon the English in the Straits of Messina; though the galleys enjoy numeric superiority, the height of the carracks' hulls makes them more difficult to board.
In an age where most naval actions are still decided by hand-to-hand combat in boarding actions, the higher freeboard of ocean-going carracks is a distinct advantage against Mediterranean galleys—allowing Smith to gain a tactical victory over the Venetian fleet.
Crucially, the English squadron has also fulfilled its wartime objective. The enemy fleet is forced into foreign ports for repairs, and is unable to oppose the Austrian invasion of the Venetian Lagoon.
Over the next year, Austrian forces siege Straßburg and the border provinces of Hungary. The Magyars are dealt a tragic and crippling blow when a border dispute erupts with Bohemia, resulting in another war they can ill afford. In December, the Hungarian king Albert I Gonzaga offers England a separate peace, but the offer is rejected to avoid any weakening of the allied bargaining position.
Emperor Joseph I annexes the city of Straßburg in October of 1471 (full annexation, 10.0 prestige and 8.0 infamy), though this decision will eventually be reversed after fierce opposition from the Electors and Reichstag (Imperial Diet). Following the Diet of Augsburg, the empire is organised into six Reichskreise, or Imperial Circles—Swabia, Bavaria, Franconia, upper Saxony, lower Saxony and Westphalia. (Reichstag approves Imperial Circuits. Imperial Authority 37%, Build Cost -2.0%, Technology Cost -2.0%.) The Circles serve as administrative units in the enforcement of imperial law and order. Each is headed by a regional prince as Kreisoberst, and regional assemblies called Kreistage (Circle Diets) are held; these assemblies can also include territories that are not imperial states.
The Austrian subjugation of Venice is complete by January of 1472. The republic is compelled to part with its final overseas possession, the Duchy of Candia (Crete), and to pay indemnities to the victors. True to their bargain, the Austrians secure the return of the Byzantine crown jewels and the cancellation of the Greek debt. But the Eastern Roman Empire may face future competition from the recently freed Cretans, who now refer to their nation as Greece—and claim many of the Empire's territories as their own rightful patrimony. (Venice accepts peace with Austrian alliance, releases Crete/Greece, pays 44 ducats.)
Like their former Venetian allies, the Hungarians are exhausted by the war--and doubly so, for they are fighting two different alliances. On January 5th, the Kingdom of Hungary makes peace with the opportunistic Bohemians, agreeing to cede the province of Érsekújvár (Bohemia gains 5.4 prestige and 4.0 infamy). Peace with the Austrians comes in July, but at a much higher price--the dismantling of the Magyar kingdom. (Hungary renounces claims on Dalmatia and Croatia, releases Croatia [Slavonia and Osijek] and Transylvania, pays 20 ducats.)
In the autumn of 1472, the Bishop of Rome passes away. On August 30th, Cardinal Francesco della Rovere is elected as the next successor, taking the regnal name Sixtus IV. Alas, the new Pope reigns for less than three weeks before being struck down by illness on September 19th. Francesco's nephew Giuliano della Rovere will also become a pope, albeit several decades later.
Over the next year there are changes in domestic governance as well. Lord High Admiral Anton Gersdorff of Denmark (2-star Grand Admiral) dies, and is replaced by Manuel Nunes Barreto of Portugal (1-star Grand Admiral; Yearly Naval Tradition +0.2, Ship Cost -4.0%, active 34 years).
On the Privy Council, Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench Daniel Fairfax of Gloucestershire (4-star Sheriff; National Revolt Risk -1.00, National Tax Modifier +4.0%) replaces the retiring Chancellor of the Exchequer Henry Frederick Clarence (3-star Treasurer, active 14 years).
In October of 1473, Elector Palatine Moritz I von Nauheim grants himself a higher title than mere count. Court advisors in London counsel patience, knowing that von Nauheim's liege lord (the Holy Roman Emperor) will be the ultimate arbiter. But Jane has always taken a dim view of overly ambitious men of lesser rank, and refuses to acknowledge the elevation (+0.50 prestige, -20 relation between England and the Palatinate).
The Queen-Empress also faces some minor political wrangling in Byzantium. The Eastern Roman Senate had ceased to function centuries ago, its senators having devolved into dynastic despots jealously guarding accumulated wealth, privilege and prestige. Now the Greek aristocracy has had a decade to see the English and Irish legislatures at work, and they suffer from the creeping dread that such quasi-democratic horrors might in time be resurrected in their own land.
When Jane visits Constantinople in October, the murmurs of concern coalesce into action. The Byzantine magnates present a request for political autonomy, and seek an unequivocal declaration that their ancient autocracy will not be eroded through English parliamentarianism. Despite her own preference for uniformity of government process across all of her realms, Jane is hamstrung by a sincere desire to respect her late husband's model of governance. And Constantine would surely not have desired to see his realm remade according to the passing fad of European feudalism.
The Queen-Empress guarantees the continuing jurisdiction and customs of the Eastern Roman government.
Word reaches London in January of 1474, and it merely confirms the English nobility's unflattering stereotypes of their Byzantine counterparts. With the crusade nearly twenty years in the past, most young nobles lack their fathers' memories of battlefield camaraderie bred in that conflict. If the Anglo-Norman lords think of Greece at all now, it is as a sunny, fertile land populated by out-of-touch ivory-tower potentates; robed men who harbour a distasteful and distinctly un-English affinity for despotism and backwardness. To its native sons, the superiority of England's political, social, economic and military institutions is self-evident; they are the bedrock that made victory possible in the 1456 crusade. Byzantium by comparison has been slowly crumbling for the last two centuries; if the Greeks want to keep following the same unsuccessful formula, let them.
Rather than waste resources trying to impose feudal government on its recalcitrant Greek subjects, London lets the terrifying Turkish armies next door do the persuading. From 1474 onward, Parliament halts funding for peacetime English garrisons in the Byzantine provinces, and Navy Royal patrols from Malta to the Aegean are severely curtailed. The slight reduction in taxation makes both lords and commons happier, not to mention soldiers and sailors who no longer have to endure such lengthy absences from home (+1 stability).
Elsewhere on the Continent, continued English patronage of the Hanseatic League pleases the burghers of Lübeck, who continue to give favourable reports to the Reichstag ("Friends in the Empire", +50 relations with Lübeck, +5 standing in the Holy Roman Empire).
In February, Ferdinand II von Askanien succeeds his father Joseph I as Archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor. Missives from Vienna hint that the young prince is inclined toward marriage to an English noblewoman, possibly the Princess of Wales' youngest daughter, Cecily. But the idea is quashed without fanfare or explanation by Mary herself, who is well aware of the vices of Habsburg men and has no wish to visit them upon her offspring.
ACCENSA DOMO PROXIMI, TUA QUOQUE PERICLITATUR
Ever since the end of the Reconquista, the monarchs of Castile and Aragon have had occasional dreams of further Iberian unification. Both have tried (and failed) to subdue the tiny Kingdom of Navarre on multiple occasions, the sporadic attempts being almost a rite of passage for each new sovereign. Castile's Queen Juana I de Trastámara makes her attempt in February of 1474, and soon afterward refugees and appeals for help flow over the Navarran-Gascon border.
In the geopolitical scene of the Late Middle Ages, Navarre is a relatively minor player. Whether the Basque lands are ruled from Pamplona or Valladolid makes little difference to the Anglo-Gascon lords across the Pyrenées; but in London the Navarran appeals gain a more sympathetic hearing. Without an iron grip on the Papal Curia to enhance her influence, Jane's advancing age, fading beauty and revelation of a scandalous Orthodox marriage have ended her long tenure as the darling of the courts of Europe. That role is now occupied by the Curia's current mistress—the formidable Juana, Most Catholic Queen of Castile and Leon. English intervention to defend Navarre would undoubtedly frustrate Castile's expanding empire and ambitions; it would also satisfy Jane's vanity to humble her younger and more talented rival. Juana must understand that it is still England and not Castile who arbitrates when and where western Europe's balance of power may be altered.
Despite the enemy's 20,000-man advantage, there is no call-up of additional troops; there need be none for a defensive war against a far less experienced foe. The Lord High Constable of England feels that in the terrain of northeast Iberia, formations of 12-18,000 will be the most effective; anything larger will simply fall prey to organisational chaos and discipline problems. Two expeditionary armies are sent to bolster the Gascony garrison; the English forces are led—as they have been for the past thirty years—by the Duke of Richmond, George Saunders.
The Castilians know—as any competent adversary would—that the Navy Royal will strike hard at their combat power first, before fanning out to blockade Iberia's ports and interdict all maritime traffic. The only way Castile can survive is by preserving enough naval power in one or two large fleets; this will make it risky for England to disperse her navy into many small blockade squadrons. On March 2nd the opposing navies meet in a gruelling clash that sees one-fifth of the Castilian fleet (12 ships) lost. It's an English victory, but less overwhelming than had been expected. And just as the Castilians had hoped, the threat of a mostly-intact navy forestalls a crippling economic blockade.
The Navarrans go on the offensive at the beginning of April, attacking Bilbao with 2,000 men-at-arms. The Duke of Richmond begins marching south from Gascony to reinforce them, but the Castilians get there first. When Saunders arrives in Vizcaya he finds the entire Navarran force slaughtered, and a vast Castilian army of 6,300 knights and 20,400 men spoiling for a fight. Undaunted, the duke leads his 18,000 English into battle against the almost 27,000-strong enemy, commanded by Valeriano Rodríguez, Conde de Campomanes. Saunders' aura of invincibility grows when he ejects the Castilians from Vizcaya having lost just 648 men, while Castilian losses are about 3,350.
In May the armies wheel east to enter Navarre, lifting the siege of Pamplona without significant difficulty. It seems as if Saunders and his lieutenants are well on their way to another victorious campaign for the English crown.
Then disquieting news arrives from the north.
With half of the English army engaged in Iberia, King Louis XI of France sees an irresistible opportunity to expunge the shame of past defeats and to reclaim lost territories.
All of the allied ambassadors in London—from Austria, Byzantium, Cyprus, Holstein, the Netherlands, Portugal and Scotland—honour the call to arms and pledge their assistance. Though the defensive forces are theoretically overwhelming, everything depends on how much the allies contribute—and how soon. French townsmen in neighbouring Toulouse—long envious of Gascony's relaxed administration and light taxation—seem cheered by the prospect of a new regime, however remote that may be. (Completed mission "Crush France!" by having war declared, +1 prestige, gain core on Toulouse.)
After the previous wars in France and Scotland, England had undertaken defence cuts to save money, since in a time of truce heavy taxation would have been strongly opposed by Parliament. Imagining that no enemy would dare strike after four decades of nearly continuous victories, the monarch, council and legislature instead spent the national revenue on domestic improvements—roads, markets, workshops and cathedrals. The military was reduced by one entire field army (6,000 men) and the continental garrisons neglected.
The French, on the other hand, used the truce to increase the size of their peacetime army, and to surround the English enclaves with heavily garrisoned fortifications. By 1474, Louis XI is the master of the largest army in western Europe. When the French declaration of war arrives at the Palace of Westminster, Jane and her courtiers are suddenly aware of the magnitude of their folly.
Now the Duke of Richmond is faced with an unpleasant dilemma. Conserve his forces, withdraw into Gascony and hope to miraculously attrite both French and Castilian armies; or continue on the Iberian offensive in the hope of quickly ending the Castilian-Navarran war. Saunders chooses offence, a call backed by Westminster. The Armies of Scotland and Ireland begin preparations for movement to Iberia; Normandy will have to do the best it can with its 6,000-man garrison.
The expansion of hostilities is also straining the Navy Royal. The fleet barely has enough ships to keep the Castilians bottled up in port, and now it must also patrol the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France. When the navy's transports are recalled to England, chaos ensues. One squadron is ambushed in the Channel by the French navy, and has to be rescued by a barely seaworthy collection of captured war prizes. Two weeks later, the Castilian navy eludes the blockade and strikes at another flotilla of cogs off Finisterre Bay. Though the navy manages to capture two Castilian ships and call it a victory, they also lose four transports—which are, in the end, far more important.
Sadly, the English landing in Gibraltar is beset by problems from the outset. The enemy's siege army is larger and tougher than expected, and the initial cheers from the beleaguered garrison give way to shocked silence and dismay as they watch their reinforcements scatter and slink away in ignominious defeat. Almost 2,800 English knights and archers lose their lives in the assault; the survivors must retreat inland toward Granada after the Castilians cut off access to the beach.
In late August the Duke of Richmond gets word that a large Castilian force has crushed a Navarran army and besieged Pamplona, and once again he moves to defend the town. On the morning of the 26th, 16,000 English knights and archers attack the 21,500-man siege army. Repeated Castilian charges are turned back with heavy losses to the attackers; though one group of brave but doomed knights fights their way to Saunders himself, grievously wounding the general. The general's final words are famously recounted by 19th century historian Francis Parkman, in his twelve-volume work on the late medieval wars of England, France and Spain:
The ailing Duke was carried to the rear but refused the offer of a barber-surgeon, knowing that his end was near. An unceasing volley of arrows finally broke Castilian morale, leading an attendant to exclaim "They run; see how they run!" Saunders' eyes snapped open abruptly. "Who run?" he demanded. "The enemy, my lord," came the reply; "they give way everywhere." "Go, one of you, to my lord of Albermarle," commanded the dying general; "tell him to march his men down to the Arga River, to cut off their retreat from the bridge." Then turning on his side, he murmured "Now, God be praised, I will die in peace!" 
The Third Battle of Pamplona was George Saunders' greatest victory; of the 21,000 enemy troops only 1,600 escaped death or capture, while English losses numbered just over 2,800.
The Duke's broken body is conveyed back to England, where he is given a funeral worthy of a monarch and interred within the nave of Westminster Abbey. Saunders is succeeded as commander of the English expeditionary armies by his deputy, the Duke of Albermarle. English jubilation at the victory is muted by the loss of a national hero; any remaining joy is snuffed out just one week later, when the city of Saintes surrenders to the French. (Affected by "Minor Blockades" due to occupied province.)
The month of October brings another Pyrrhic victory for the Navy Royal. The Castilian fleet—6 carracks, 12 pinnaces and 22 galleys--pounces upon a group of cogs in the Cantabrian Sea, and is rapidly set upon by a English squadron of 10 carracks and 10 pinnaces. The English manage to sink another couple of warships but lose 3 cogs in return. Combined with July's losses, it means the Navy Royal has lost one full transport squadron, which will hamper its ability to resupply, reinforce—or in the worst case, evacuate—the armies serving abroad. The Lord High Admiral orders the construction of replacements, diverting funds that are much-needed for the sustainment and replenishment of the army.
October is also when the French push into Normandy, their 8,000 knights and men-at-arms brushing aside the garrison force of 6,000. When the 4,000 survivors retreat into the Pays de Caux, they are met by Louis XI's army of 12,000 and are forced to surrender en masse. English resistance in the north of France is effectively ended.
There is some good news, however, in late autumn. On November 23rd, the Portuguese navy crushes what remains of the French fleet in the straits of Gibraltar, then begins a blockade of France's Mediterranean coast.
The English armies in Castile fight on, but are not nearly as successful as they had been under the Duke of Richmond. Though an enemy force is driven from the province of Aragón (and further south, the siege of Gibraltar is finally lifted) these gains come after battles which inflict nearly equal losses to both sides. If England is to knock Castile out of the war, the larger Iberian armies must suffer greater losses.
In January of 1475, a Dutch force of about 4,000 men blunt an incursion of 1,000 French knights into Limburg. France is making only halfhearted efforts at containing the English allies; the majority of her armies are devoted to capturing the English enclaves on the Continent.
Back in Iberia, the English expeditionary forces begin a frantic push to eliminate Castile's few remaining armies. But in spite of some successes, complete victory lies frustratingly out of reach. The English and Castilian armies have been whittled down to near parity, but the Castilians are able to bring up reinforcements far more quickly than the invaders. Both nations are locked in a dangerous game of brinkmanship, each gambling that attrition and the hardships of war will soon bring the other's army to a state of total collapse.
The Princess of Wales' rejection of an Austrian suitor for daughter Cecily has not gone unnoticed by Vienna. Though the Archduchy accepted London's call for wartime aid, the practical involvement of the Austrian army has been minimal. Out of some 48,000 knights and men available, Vienna allocates a mere 7,000 to raid and harass the eastern French provinces. And none will proceed further west than Reims.
Storm clouds gather over the eastern Mediterranean in February, when the Ottomans declare war on the Knights Hospitaller. This conflict also draws in the Byzantines, who had mended relations with their onetime enemies following the personal union with England. Soon after Jane granted them a measure of autonomy in domestic and foreign affairs, the Greek magnates had pledged—foolishly, in the eyes of the Privy Council—to come to the aid of the Knights, if attacked. London is furious to learn that Constantinople has honoured the guarantee, and doubly so when the Greeks airily suggest that another English crusade ought to be forthcoming. There simply isn't the money or manpower to do so.
Throughout the spring and summer it becomes clear that lack of naval dominance in the Bay of Biscay is creating supply problems for the English armies in Iberia. Reinforcements are slow to arrive, and though Albermarle is careful to shepherd his forces, they grow weaker by the day. With Gascony and Navarre under constant siege and assault, there is nowhere nearby for the armies to retreat and rest. Aragon is still smarting after its defeat in the subjugation of Scotland, and is not at all inclined to shelter the armies of its recent enemy.
By August of 1475 the cities of Caen, Rouen and Bordeaux have fallen, further eroding the English position in France. The one spot of good news is that the Dutch army in Normandy (now increased to some 6,000 knights and men) has enjoyed small successes in seeing off French assaults, but France can—and likely will—dispatch it with superior numbers in due time.
AB AMICIS HONESTA PETAMUS
According to an old aphorism, tragedies often attend our lives in threes. The third act to England's troubled wars came in the autumn of 1475, when a squabble over Moldavia erupted into open war between the Ottomans and Austrians. When invited to join the conflict, the English ambassador protests that his nation can barely sustain the wars it is already fighting. But Archduke Ferdinand II von Askanien is pitiless, making it clear that London's woes are not Vienna's; England can either honour its alliances or lose them.
The nation has few resources with which to fight another war. The army is a shadow of its former self and badly needs rest and reinforcement. Both the Lord High Constable and Earl Marshal agree that before the end of the year, the army will have to be withdrawn from Castile or face complete annihilation. Though the word defeat is never uttered, the stink of it permeates the Council's heated discussions.
The Navy Royal has been unable to decisively vanquish their Castilian counterparts; neither side has been able to establish maritime dominance in the Bay of Biscay. The blockade has been almost entirely abandoned; ever since the Castilians proved adept at picking off the transports, the Lord High Admiral has sought to conserve the cogs and keep his fighting ships in large fleet-combat formations. Now more than ever, every transport is worth its weight in gold. If the army has to be evacuated piecemeal, it may prove to be a disaster for those forces that have to linger behind and wait for their turn.
The Lord High Admiral wants his forces to remain undivided in the Atlantic, but the Queen-Empress insists that her southern dominions cannot be sacrificed or abandoned, ordering half of the fleet's combat power into the Mediterranean. In Jane's eyes the navy has been next to useless against Castile; it may as well be deployed somewhere where it might make a difference.
The evacuations begin in November, and for the first time that anyone can remember, England's decimated armies return from a war with the outcome still very much in doubt. It will be several months—possibly even a year—before they are strong enough to return to combat.
England's allies fight on, however, heedless of the retreat.
In Provence, the Byzantines land a token force of 2,000 druzhina cavalry and 1,000 bardiche infantry, driving out an astonished French regiment.
The Dutch have been steadily reinforcing their army in Normandy—now numbering 5,500 knights and 5,100 men. But their strength is broken near the end of December, in a titanic struggle with Louis XI's army of 2,000 French knights and 13,500 men-at-arms.
Meanwhile, the navy redeems itself slightly when the Mediterranean squadron defeats an Ottoman force of 43 galleys in the Aegean, capturing ten and sinking five. Three weeks later the squadron destroys an entire 10-galley Tunisian flotilla off Cape Bon. Unfortunately the absence of war patrols along Castile's southern coast provides an opportunity for that enemy, and the victories are soon tainted by the news that Castilian troops have landed in Malta.
Austria's war with the Turks is not faring much better. In the spring of 1476, some 22,000 Ottoman sipahi and janissaries occupy Wallachia, an Austrian vassal. The Austrian response is typically slow and disorganised, failing to dislodge the invaders.
SIC SEMPER PIRATIS
In early June of 1476, a singular and curious incident occurs at Gibraltar. An emissary from a Berber corsair flotilla arrives in the port, seeking aid and safe passage (event "Shady Dealings"). In return the pirate emissary is prepared to offer a degree of protection from corsair-supporting Barbary states. This arrangement might be tolerable and even advantageous to the English political establishment, but the old salts in the navy (especially those rescued from pirate captivity and enslavement) are far less forgiving. Gibraltar's old harbourmaster has no intention of conveying the proposal to anyone higher up the chain of command; least of all some lubber in London who might agree to it. Instead, he sends an unmistakable message to the Barbary corsairs. The emissary is seized, summarily convicted of piracy, and the decapitated body is hung in a gibbet at the harbour's entrance. The severed head is sent back to the waiting pirate fleet, a warning that they will be mercilessly hunted by the Gibraltar and Malta stations.
It is hard to pinpoint a singular decision or event that led inexorably to the English defeat in 1476. Like so many modern disasters, it was a series of little events that—when compounded by each succeeding error in judgement—created a calamity much greater than the sum of its parts.
Certainly the alienation of Castile in the French peace of 1464 was a major misstep; the subsequent invasion of Scotland and severing of the Anglo-Castilian alliance also heightened tensions dramatically. But they were not—in and of themselves—fatal errors. Jane might have allowed Castile to invade and annex Navarre without any objection, though the concurrent expansion of England, France and Castile would have brought them all into conflict sooner or later. It is also possible that countering larger opponents at a later date would have been just as dangerous—if not more so—in the long run.
There are economic arguments, too. If the army had not been reduced to pay for rebuilding efforts in Normandy and Malta, the French might have been dissuaded from attacking. If Jane and the Privy Council had not spent lavishly on domestic projects—cathedrals, roads, harbours, markets, workshops, and so on—there might have been money available to hire additional troops (or at least mercenaries).
Once war was underway, what might have happened if England had been able to wipe out the Castilian navy and impose a full blockade? Or if Saunders had abandoned the Navarran campaign to focus on defending Gascony and Normandy? How might the wars have unfolded if he had survived the Third Battle of Pamplona; would greater victories have lain ahead?
And what about the allies? The Netherlands certainly made an impressive contribution, for its size and finances at the time. Others were less motivated. Aside from one naval engagement and a blockade of the southern French coast, Portugal sat out the war. As did Scotland, Cyprus and Holstein—though this last case of inactivity may be due to the county entering a personal union under the Duke of Brunswick. Most disappointing of all was Austria, who had an enormous army and elected, for the most part, not to use it.
Major troop movements and battles of the French and Castilian Wars.
But in the summer of 1476, nothing can change the calculus of the wars that were fought. As the shattered army reconstitutes itself at home, the sovereign, lords and commons reach the inescapable conclusion that England cannot achieve victory in any of its three major conflicts. The navy can prevent total defeat, but victory requires occupation of enemy territory; and thus far, none has been taken—and only one out of the five field armies is in any kind of shape to do so.
In one last, fitful gasp of belligerence, the Invasion Army is sent to relieve the besieged port of Gibraltar. All 4,000 Castilian knights are killed or captured, to the relief of the garrison. If nothing else, it may improve England's bargaining position.
French king Louis XI wants the Duchy of Normandy returned to France and an enormous sum in war reparations. Both demands are highly unpalatable to London. England fought hard to gain the duchy in 1464; being scolded like an errant child compelled to give up pilfered goods is for lesser creatures like Burgundy.
Normandy is also a highly defensible corridor, especially with Dutch assistance. Gascony, on the other hand, is the kingdom's soft underbelly; lying at the crossroads of three major powers, it is difficult to defend adequately and requires an enormous, expensive garrison to do so. To pacify the Valois king and simultaneously avoid ceding France any new territories, the Queen reluctantly grants independence to all of her Gascon provinces (as the County of Armagnac). Jane is despondent over the treaty, but it is the best compromise available under the circumstances. She remarks to a courtier that "When I am dead and opened, you shall find ‘Constantine’ and ‘Gascony’ lying in my heart." 
After the conclusion of the French treaty on July 22nd, 1476, Queen Juana of Castile is satisfied that English power and influence have been seriously damaged. Her negotiators offer a peace status quo ante three days later. Though she has not conquered Navarre, Juana has ensured that any future attempts will suffer no interference from England.
Some of the Gascon provinces had been a realm of the English Crown since the time of Edward III. Now, after 116 years of foreign suzerainty, they are united and free.
The loss of the county was more than merely symbolic, for it was a major contributor to the English economy. The county of Armagnac was home to sought-after delicacies like foie gras, Bordeaux wines and Armagnac brandy; modern economists estimate that after the French and Castilian Wars, English GDP fell by roughly one-quarter.
One positive outcome is that Parliament no longer had to tax, regulate and manage that extensive Continental domain, allowing government to be just a little bit more efficient and responsive for its English, Irish and Norman subjects closer to home.
HORA INCERTA, MORS CERTA
Following the cessation of hostilities with Castile and France, there is much backbiting and bitter recrimination within the Privy Council, Parliament and the senior levels of the army and navy. Admirals argue that the English army should have focused on siege warfare rather than hunting down every last Castilian formation. Generals retort that if the Navy Royal had defeated the enemy's fleets and imposed a full blockade, Castile would have been beset by revolts and its land forces much diminished. Eventually, Army supporters in Council and Parliament win the battle of public opinion, to the navy's detriment. (Event "Decreased Crew Morale" until 16 March 1482, morale of navies -0.35.)
Even so, the Navy and the nation must soldier on—for there is still the war against the Ottomans. On May 21st 1477, a squadron in the Aegean sinks ten more Turkish galleys; soon after three revitalised field armies are dispatched to Greece. But it is a fight for which Jane has little appetite. The youth of England lent her their sinews, and she has spilled their blood with little gain. Surely God will hold her to account for it. Or for all the other lives that have been lost in her many wars.
In spite of the war and all its demands, Jane begins to withdraw from court life in June, leaving the administrative headaches of the realm to her sister. Rather than attend acrimonious councils-of-war, the Queen prefers to spend her days in the serenity of the large hunting parks outside Eltham Palace—just as she did in her childhood. Perhaps she could sense—as some do—the final moments of her life draining out through the hourglass.
With no warning or sign of illness, Queen-Empress Jane I Lancaster passes away in her sleep on August 1st, 1477, at the age of 61. She has reigned for 46 years, 1 month and 12 days, and is England's third-longest-reigning monarch after Henry III (56 years) and Edward III (50 years).
Jane I surrounded by the royal household staff at Eltham Palace, summer 1477.
ENGLAND c. 1477
Mary I Lancaster
By the Grace of God, Queen of England and France and Lady of Ireland
True Empress and Autocrat of the Romans
~ Burgundy (Duke Henri II Lancaster-Valois-Bourgogne)
~ Cyprus (Basileus Eudes II Lancaster-Lusignan)
~ Lüneburg (Duke Friedrich III Lancaster-Brunswick-Lüneburg)
Treasury: £5.3 million (53m ducats)
GDP (estimated): £74.79 million (747.9m ducats)
Domestic CoTs: London £35.59 million (355.91m ducats), Constantinople £24.51 million (245.12m ducats)
Army: 10,000 Knights (Chevauchée), 20,000 Longbowmen
Reserves (potential levies): 4,668
Navy: 24 Carracks, 24 Pinnaces, 10 Galleys, 21 Cogs
Tradition: Army 38.10% Navy 50.80%
Prestige: First (79.70)
Reputation: Honourable (0.00/16.00)
 The last conversation of George Saunders is directly modelled on that of Major General James P. Wolfe, who perished on the Plains of Abraham outside Québec, September 13th, 1759.
 Jane's comment upon losing Gascony/Armagnac is based upon real-life Queen Mary's similar remark at losing Calais in 1558.