The Battle of Castillon, considered to be the last battle of the Hundred Years’ War, was fought between France and England.

After more than a century of conflict, by the end of 1451 the French under King Charles VII had captured almost all the remaining English possessions in France. Charles’ army had driven the English out of the remaining regions of Guyenne and Gascony but the locals, who had been English subjects for almost three centuries, requested liberation by Henry VI. The English king obliged in October 1452 by sending the military commander John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, who seized the area around Bordeaux with little difficulty.

Frustrated by the loss of the territory, Charles spent the winter preparing a large army for a counter-attack. When the French forces advanced in the summer of 1453 the 6,000 English troops were outnumbered. The French were also supported by the powerful artillery of Jean Bureau who prepared a heavily fortified camp to besiege the English-held city of Castillon on the Dordogne River.

Keen to relieve Castillon, Shrewsbury left Bordeaux in early July and successfully routed a small detachment of French archers a few miles outside the city. Bolstered by this success, and having heard reports that the French in the main camp were retreating, Talbot ordered his troops to continue without waiting for reinforcements.

The French artillery inflicted huge losses on the ill-prepared English army, repeating the devastation as waves of reinforcements arrived. Shrewsbury himself was killed in the battle, and before long the remaining English troops began a desperate retreat to Bordeaux. Castillon surrendered to the French the next day and, although Bordeaux survived a siege until October, the Battle of Castillon was the last military engagement of the Hundred Years’ War.

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