Thursday, August 10, 2023

Wars of the Roses (1455-1487)

The Wars of the Roses, spanning over a period of four decades, marked a dynastic conflict involving the English nobility and monarchy. This period was defined by sporadic battles, executions, and plots for assassination.

Central to this conflict was a rivalry for the throne between lineages tracing their ancestry back to Edward III and those descending from Henry IV. The final Angevin monarch, King Richard II, passed away without leaving a successor.

Henry IV, also recognized as Henry Bolingbroke, orchestrated the overthrow and subsequent assassination of King Richard II. Henry's connection to the House of Lancaster through his father, John of Gaunt, gave rise to the Lancastrian faction, which garnered support from his heirs and adherents.

In contrast, the lineage descending from Edward IV had ties to families in the northern regions of England, particularly the House of York and Richard of York, culminating in the establishment of the Yorkist faction.

The Wars of the Roses earned its evocative name due to the adoption of the white rose as a symbol by the Yorks, and the red rose as the emblem of the Lancastrians.

This period of conflict was initiated in 1455 with The First Battle of St. Albans. Richard of York led around 3,000 soldiers on a march towards London, prompting Henry VI to shift his position from the capital to intercept the Yorkist army. Henry halted his advance in St. Albans, anticipating Richard's attack. This engagement resulted in Richard's victory, causing an estimated 300 casualties.

Despite the Yorkists' success in securing Edward IV's ascension to the throne in 1461, the conflicts persisted. In 1471, they orchestrated the assassination of Henry VI within the Tower of London. In 1483, Richard III sidestepped the claims of his nephew, Edward V, to seize power, which alienated a considerable number of Yorkists.

Henry Tudor, who would later be known as Henry VII, effectively concluded the Wars of the Roses by triumphing over and killing Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485. His marriage to Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, in 1486 served to unify the competing Yorkist and Lancastrian claims.
Wars of the Roses (1455-1487)

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