The War of the Roses
Part 1 - The Background
The War of the Roses is one of the most consequential wars on English history. And it was all for the grand prize of the incredibly coveted and incredibly comfortable English throne.
Famines, plagues and the Little Ice Age brought Europe to its knees, with revolt and war becoming common. In 1337, King Edward III of England claimed that he was the rightful heir to the French throne (the French and English dynasties had been related since the days of William the Conquerer) and, when King Philip IV of France challenged England's territorial claims in France, Edward tried to take the French throne which began the Hundred Years War (three guesses how long that lasted). Edward the Black Prince was Edward III's heir. He was popular due to his success against France. However, in 1376, the Black Prince died due to, in the words of Feature History, "a nasty case of the shits". However, Edward III had three other sons to be his heir: John Duke of Lancaster, Edmund Duke of York and Thomas Duke of Gloucester. In 1377, Edward III died and the throne was left to the ten-year-old Richard II, the Black Prince's son, bypassing John, Edmund and Thomas. Richard's reign was, frankly, a bit awful and the sons considered him a bad choice. In 1388, Thomas led a coalition of nobles against Richard which diminished the king's power, setting a trend for the next near-century. One notable rebel in the group was Henry Duke of Lancaster, son of John. He and Thomas rested easy with their victory.
In 1397, Richard stuck back by dissolving the coalition and arresting Thomas, who was later murdered by Thomas de Mowbray (likely on Richard's orders). Henry, though being given mercy, was still unhappy and came into conflict with Mowbray and eventually challenged him to a duel of honour which was accepted. However, Richard II intervened and banished them both, upsetting the nobility). Henry's father John died in 1399 while his son was out of the country. Richard kept John's holdings and titles by holding them himself, making Henry like Richard even less. Henry decided to amass an army and invaded England while Richard was campaigning in Ireland.