The definition of the Golden Rule is that those with the gold
make the rules. In other words, those with the gold have the power as
well as those with the power have the gold. History books will
discuss the general reasons for war such as freedom from adversity or
freedom from religion. But the real issue for any war is the thirst
for power and control; and the means to finance them are the economic

Nations will endure years of fighting for power and control.

France and England fought each other for more than a hundred years to
have control of the Channel trade routes. 1 This century of warring
was known as The Hundred Years\' War and is the longest war in record
history. It began in 1337 when King Edward III invaded Normandy and
ended in 1453 when France won the Battle of Bordeaux. However, it was
not a hundred years of constant battle; there were periods of truces
in between. 2

One cause for the Hundred Years\' War was the claim to the

French throne. The conflict began when the direct line of succession
died without a male heir and the nobles decided to pass the crown to a
cousin, Philip of Valois. But this left two other male cousins
equally deserving of the crown; Charles, King of Navarre and Edward

III, King of England. 3 Edward III claimed that he himself was
deserving of the throne because his mother was the sister of the late

French king, while Philip VI was only a cousin. But according to

French law, no women could inherit the throne, nor could the crown be
inherited through a woman. 4

"Philip of Valois chances of becoming King of France had been
remote and he had not been brought up as the future lieutenant of God
on Earth. Philip VI spent much of his resources on entertainment and
finery with gay abandon." 5 This caused conflict with the king\'s
subjects. Since the king was considered to be sacred and inviolable,
neither cousin would challenge Philip VI. However, they would exploit
the situation and King Edward III lost no time and invaded Normandy
with an army of 10,000
men. 6

This leads to another cause for The Hundred Years\' War. The
land along the Channel and Atlantic coasts was England\'s first line of
defense against an invasion. England held claim to this territory
from the twelth century through the marriage of King Henry II and

Eleanor of Aquitaine. King Edward III was determined to gain control
of the French coastline while providing himself with a bridgehead for
future expeditions into France. 7

But the major cause of The Hundred Years\' War was the economic
interest - the revenues to be gotten from this rich territory. Wine
was Gasgony\'s largest export product and major source of income to the
vassal. Wool was England\'s largest export product and the source of
its wealth. English pastures produced fleeces that were the envy of

Europe which Flanders depended on for its wool and linen market. 8

English sheep growers sold their long fine wool to weavers in

Flanders, across the English Channel. Flemish weavers as well as

English sheep growers depended on this trade for their business. In

1336, Philip VI arrested all the English merchants in Flanders and
took away all the privileges of the Flemish towns and the craft
guilds. Resulting in the Flemings revolting against the French
control and making an alliance with England. 9 Consequently, the
flourishing market of the industrial cities of Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp
and Ypres were naturally coveted by the Kings of France and England.

Moreover, the Bordeaux harbor was within the borders of

English Gascony and was the center of the shipping and trading
industry. Commodities such as grains, dairy products, dyes and salt
would be shipped into Bordeaux via the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers and
the merchants were charged a customs fee for these products. Also,

Bordeaux would receive duties on wine, whether shipped-in or grown on

Gascon soil. Consequently, the profits from the tolls and customs
made Bordeaux the economic capital of Gascony. Furthermore, control
of neighboring areas such as Guyenne and Calais were economically
vital. Their union with Bordeaux would ensure England with a monopoly
of the shipping and trading industry from Spain, Portugal and

Brittany. 10

France was the richest country in Europe and its army was much
larger than England\'s. In addition, France\'s army consisted of hired
mercenaries. Therefore, France should have quickly defeated England.

But France\'s army consisted of heavily armored knights who were less
mobile against the agile English swordsmen. The French military
leaders soon realized the archer was the only effective when fighting
a pitched battle.