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Portrait of King Edward III, by an unknown artist

Edward III (1312–1377) was king of England from 1327 until his death, and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His reign saw vital developments in legislation and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament—as well as the ravages of the Black Death. Edward was crowned at the age of fourteen, following the deposition of his father. When he was only seventeen years old, he led a coup against his regent, Roger Mortimer, and began his personal reign. After a successful campaign in Scotland in 1333, he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1337, starting what would become known as the Hundred Years' War. Following some initial setbacks, the war went exceptionally well for England; the victories of Crécy and Poitiers led up to the highly favourable Treaty of Brétigny. Edward’s later years, however, were marked by international failure and domestic strife, largely as a result of his inertia and eventual bad health. Highly revered in his own time and for centuries after, Edward was denounced as an irresponsible adventurer by later Whig historians. This view has turned, and modern historiography credits him with many significant achievements. (more...)

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