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British cannon from the Hundred Years' War (now at Mount St. Michel)

British cannon from the Hundred Years’ War (now at Mount St. Michel)

Throughout the Middle Ages, nobody in Europe had much money or power. Kings couldn’t afford to maintain a standing, professional army the way the Romans had. Instead, when the king wanted to fight a war, he ordered each of his lords to show up with a certain number of men. So his army was made of whoever decided to show up this time.

Re-enactors demonstrating medieval armor (Cluny Museum, Paris)

In the 1200s AD, Europeans learned about gunpowder, a Chinese invention which reached Europe through the Mongol Empire. After that, Europeans led the way in the invention of cannons. which they seem to have first used in the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, around 1320 AD.

Learn by doing: hold a tournament
More about the invention of gunpowder

Bibliography and further reading about medieval warfare:

More about gunpowder
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