Emperor of Canada
- Sep 23, 2006
Chronicles of France
Chapter 8:The War of the League of Maastricht
By 1542, France was beginning to re-assert itself as a European power, rivaling the greatness of Brandenburg (later Prussia), Portugal and maybe even Great Britain. Seeking to avenge the honor of the Empire by reclaiming southern France, the Emperor ordered the army expanded to incorporate 25 000 more troops, making the Imperial Army the second largest one in the world, second only to Russia at 60 000 troops. Planning the invasion took almost a year, with every detail and every eventuality worked out in it's finest details.
Emperor François I conferring with his generals in preparation for the war agaisnt Aragon
The war in Aragon would prove to be swift and decisive, lasting only 2 1/2 years. Over 48 000 troops crossed the border into Aragon. With the bulk of the Aragonese troops consolidating it's position in Castille's ex-territories, the French we able to secure Auvergne, Toulouse, Languedoc and Rouerge in record time. French troops fanned out and continued their advance. On July 4th 1543, French forces led by the Emperor himself reached Madrid. There, the bloodiest battle of the war was fought. Aragonese forces, led by King Leon III, met the French in open battle, even though they were slightly outnumbered (historians disagree on the exact numbers, estimated 25 000 french to 19 000 Aragonese). The battle started on July the 6th, after 2 days of preperations. The French charged first, they would take no prisonners...
French forces at Madrid, after Emperor François I (holding French banner) slew King Leon III (In golden armor) in battle
After the 12th day of battle, King Leon III was slain in battle by Emperor François I himself. Aragonese morale quickly faded. Madrid was captured by French forces in August 1543. The war dragged on another 10 months, with France finally regaining it's southern portion, with the exception of Béarn and Rousillon. France then started building up it's navy, preparing it for war with Great Britain. Indeed, tensions had been mounting between the two allies. Great Britain's aggressive expansionist attitude in North America was alarming to many, Portuguese, Brabantian, French and Prussian diplomats met in Maastricht in late 1548 to discuss what was to be done with Britain. The verdict was unanimous: War was the only option. They signed an agreement that would be known throughout history as the League of Maastricht. After France's navy was of an adequate size, and it's allies had prepared themselves, war was declared in 1552. However, the cowards in Prussia backed down at the last minute. (Actually, the game bugged and Prussia was never offered an opportunity to declare war) The French navy quickly occupied the channel. There, there was fierce fighting for a little over a week. Finally, the French navy was able to deliver a crushing to the British Navy sinking 14 ships. French troops were unloaded in Kent along with Brabantian forces.
French naval forces at the battle of the Coast of Dover
Overall, some 60 000 to 70 000 were unloaded in Britain proper. At first, French forces made significant gains, but attrition and fierce resistance by the few English forces on the mainland. The war culminated in the Battle of Lincoln. The battle was fierce, and resulted in a total death toll of approximately 20 000 men (numbers vary from one historian to the next). The battle was also the first time the French used muskets, a new projectile weapon bought from Brabantian armories, and given to France's most elite troops.
the Battle of Lincoln stopped the French army in it's tracks.
The Battle of Lincoln, along with Russian meddling in the war, forced the League to seek peace with Britain on very moderate terms. The coalition to stop Britain had failed. In 1559, following the death of François I, Henry III, now Emperor, restored his alliance with Britain, in exchange for help fighting the remnants of the Vijanagaranese Empire in India. The rest of his reign was uneventful, with the exception of the quick annexation of Provence in 1563.
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