January 1, 1412 - Joan of Arc

By Margaret Cravens

Joan of Arc was born to a French farmer in the village of Domremy, in approximately the year 1412, during the Hundred Years’ War. This village lay on the frontlines between a fight for the French throne. On one side was Charles, the long unconsecrated heir to the throne, and on the other was the current King Henry VI of England, who was also allied with Duke Philip of Burgundy.  As a teenager, Joan went to Charles, driven by visions she believed to have been sent by God, and volunteered to aid in the fight against the English. In the end he granted her request, and she, along with her brothers Pierre and Jean, joined the fight. In the spring of 1429, she and her troops arrived outside of Orleans, which had been under English siege for over six months, and successfully broke the seige.

Rejoining Charles afterwards, the victorious Joan persuaded him to hurry on with a coronation to seal his claim to the throne. The reason it had been postpones for so long was due to the traditional location of the coronation, Reims, which was then deep within English territory. The day after they arrived in Reims, Charles’ coronation took place. At that point in time, Paris was still under the control of the Duke of Burgundy. At first, plans had been made for the capture of Paris, but Charles later decided against it, and he and his army marched back the way they’d come. However, an English force blocked their route home. Joan took a group of soldiers to try and retake Paris, but they failed and were called back. Even after some of the military forces were disbanded, Joan remained with her King, who would later officially make Joan and her family nobility.

In the May of 1430, Joan sought to break the siege around the city of Compiegne, but although she and her troops fought valiantly, they were eventually forced to retreat. As they were crossing the Oise River, she, her brother, and her squire were captured and brought to the Duke of Burgundy. Charles VII did nothing to intervene on her behalf. She was handed over to the church, and, at their insistence, tried as a heretic (and not for her involvement in the war). As her punishment she was handed over to the secular powers and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.

Works cited

Lanhers, Yvonne. “St. Joan of Arc.” Encyclopedia Brittanica. Accessed May 25,

  1. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Joan-of-Arc.