Urban II: The Crusader Pope

Early Life His words would unite European Christians and begin the first of several crusades. In 1035, Pope Urban II was born Odo of Lagery. He was a member of a noble family located in the French region of Champagne. As he got older, Odo pursued a religious career in the Catholic Church. After completing his studies, Odo became the […]

Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Influential Noblewoman

Early Life She held many titles throughout her long life. Eleanor was born in the duchy of Aquitaine, France, in 1122. Her father, William X, was the Duke of Aquitaine and the Count of Poitiers. Through these titles, William controlled vast estates and possessed immense political power. A cultured man, William ensured that his daughter was well educated. Under her […]

The War of the Roses: Part 2

A Yorkist Rift The War of the Roses would continue under the new Yorkist government. As King Edward IV ruled his kingdom, Henry VI lived in exile on the English border. Resigned to his fate, the Lancastrian king made little effort to regain his throne. However, his wife, Margaret of Anjou, refused to give up. The queen didn’t care much […]

The War of the Roses: Part 1

Background The War of the Roses began as a power struggle within the royal family. On September 30, 1399, King Richard II abdicated his throne to his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke. Upon his ascension as Henry IV, the direct line of the Plantagenets ended. In its place, a cadet branch took over: the house of Lancaster. The Lancastrians were named after […]

Henry IV of England: The Usurper King

Early Life Henry IV’s seizure of his cousin’s crown would create a new ruling precedent. Henry was born on April 15, 1367, at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, England. Due to the customs of the time, Henry became known as Henry Bolingbroke as a reference to his birthplace. Henry’s father, John of Gaunt, was the third surviving son of King Edward […]