Joan of Arc was born in Domremy, France in 1412. She was a very religious, peasant girl in a predominantly Catholic region. As a child, Joan claimed that she heard the voices of several Catholic saints. When she became a teenager, she believed that the voices she heard were urging her to help the crown prince of France, the Dauphin, save France from England. The English army was trying to conquer France in the Hundred Years’ War. Dressing in men’s clothing, Joan convinced the Dauphin to support her and was given an army as well as a horse, a sword, and armor. Inspirational and passionate, Joan rallied the French troops and stopped the English at the Battle of Orleans in 1429. After more fighting, she accomplished her mission when the Dauphin was crowned. But the coronation did not stop the Burgundian army (Burgundy is now a part of France but it is important to remember that in the late Middle Ages, France did not have a centralized government) from helping the British. Eventually captured by the Burgundian army, Joan was sold to the English army and tried for witchcraft and heresy. In 1431, she was burned at the stake. Today, Joan of Arc is a saint in the Catholic Church. She was canonized in 1920.
Primary Source: An excerpt from Joan of Arc’s letter to the King of England (Chronique de la Pucelle, ou Chronique de Cousinot. Paris: Adolphe Delahaye, 1859)
“…King of England, render account to the King of Heaven of your royal blood. Return the keys of all the good cities which you have seized, to the Maid. She is sent by God to reclaim the royal blood, and is fully prepared to make peace, if you will give her satisfaction; that is, you must render justice, and pay back all that you have taken. King of England, if you do not do these things, I am the commander of the military; and in whatever place I shall find your men in France, I will make them flee the country, whether they wish to or not; and if they will not obey, the Maid will have them all killed. She comes sent by the King of Heaven, body for body, to take you out of France, and the Maid promises and certifies to you that if you do not leave France she and her troops will raise a mighty outcry as has not been heard in France in a thousand years …”
1: How and why did Joan of Arc help the Dauphin of France? ________________________________________________________________________
2: What happened to Joan of Arc at her trial? ________________________________________________________________________ 3: According to the primary source, why must the King of England leave France? ________________________________________________________________________
4: According to Joan of Arc, who has sent her to battle? ________________________________________________________________________