The Treaty of Le Goulet

The Treaty of Le Goulet was signed on the 22nd of May 1200 between King John of England and King Philip II of France.  It was a complete victory for Philip who had long envied the #Angevin and coveted the Angevin lands. According to this treaty, the war between the Angevin forces and the French was over, and the new borders were established and fixed. The treaty’s name comes from Gueleton Island in the Seine River in Normandy.

                                     King John of England on a stag hunt

While the Plantagenet Angevin kings held dominion over almost half of modern day France, they were in theory under the Capetian monarchs as their suzerains. Philippe II of France dreamed to change that, and according to this treaty, Philippe reasserted his legal claims to overlordship over John’s lands on the continent. What did John lose? The Channel Islands were separated from Normandy. John’s duty was to acknowledge that Philip was an overlord for all the Angevin dominions on the continent, including most of Normandy and the County of Boulogne. Phillip demanded 20,000 marks of silver to let John control Brittany, which belonged to Arthur, who was the only son of the deceased Geoffrey Plantagenet (the brother between John and Richard in birth order), and who had a more senior claim to the English throne.

John’s political acumen and military abilities continually fell short of his predecessors. He gained only a little: Philip recognized him as King of England, ignoring Arthur of Brittany’s more senior claim to the throne. So little compared to what Philip gained!  The King of France even demanded that the Plantagenet family’s traditional seat of power and origins – the province of Anjou – to be given under his control, and John swallowed it. Aquitaine and Poitou were not touched upon in this agreement, shameful for John, because Eleanor of Aquitaine was still alive at the time. To guarantee that the two parties will comply with the terms and conditions of the treaty, John’s niece, Blanche of Castile (she was daughter of Eleanor of England) married Phillip’s son and heir –the future Louis VIII of France.

The war between John and Philippe broke out again in mere two years. Sadly, the sly King Philippe of France had a strategic, crafty reasoning that John utterly lacked, and they helped him accomplish his most cherished dream – the gradual dismantlement of Angevin Empire.

All images are in the public domain.

Text © 2020 Olivia Longueville

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