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Welsh War of Independence
Rhyfel Cymreig Annibyniaeth
Merveilles du Monde
Part of Celtic Wars of Independence
Owain Glyndŵr rises (MdM)
The Rise of Owain Glyndŵr
Date March 1400 – April 1404
Location England, Wales, Scotland
Result
  • Welsh coalition victory
  • Countryside in northwestern England ravaged.
Territorial
changes
Second Treaty of Caernarfon
Belligerents
Arms of Owain Glyndŵr (MdM) Principality of Wales

Celtic Confederacy CoA (MdM) Celtic Confederacy

Flag of the Kalmar Union Örebro Union

Supported by:
Early Swiss cross Swiss Confederacy

Flag of Hamburg Hanseatic League
French Royal Arms MdM Kingdom of France
CoA Pontifical States 02 Papal States

Royal Arms of England (1399-1603) Kingdom of England

Supported by:
CoA of The Crown of Aragon Empire of Hispania

Commanders and leaders
British Isles:
  • Arms of Owain Glyndŵr (MdM) Prince Owain Lawgoch of Wales †
  • Royal coat of arms of Scotland King Robert II "the Bruce" of Scotland
  • Flag of the Kalmar Union King Birger Bjelbo of the Örebro Union
  • Arms of the Earl of March (MdM) Edmund Mortime, Prince of Wales, 5th Earl of March
  • Arms of Owain Glyndŵr (MdM) Owain Glyndŵr, Guardian of Wales
  • Early Swiss cross Amadeus V Lenzburg, Count of Geneva
  • Royal coat of arms of Scotland David III Bruce, Duke of Auvergne and Count of Boulogne
  • Icelandic Commonwealth COA (MdM) King Domnhall II of Iceland
  • Icelandic Commonwealth COA (MdM) Queen Bonne of Iceland
  • Royal coat of arms of Scotland Sir William Bruce
  • Percy Hotspur Sir Henry "Hotspur" Percy, Earl of Northumberland [1401-1402] †
  • Tudor CoA MdM Sir Maredudd ap Tudur
  • Tudor CoA MdM Sir Rhys ap Tudur
  • Tudor CoA MdM Sir Gwilym ap Tudur
  • Royal coat of arms of Scotland Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas
  • Royal coat of arms of Scotland Sir James Douglas "the Gross"
  • Royal coat of arms of Scotland Admiral Hugh Murray
  • Royal coat of arms of Scotland Sir William Wallace

Continent:

  • French Royal Arms MdM King Louis XI of France
Royal Arms of England (1399-1603) King Henry IV of England

Percy Hotspur Sir Henry "Hotspur" Percy, Earl of Northumberland [1400-1401] (defected)

Strength
14,000 Welsh troops

15,000 Scandinavian troops

  • 500 Icelandic troops

8,000 Scottish troops

  • 4,000 Swiss mercenaries
  • 3,000 other volunteer and mercenaries

Total: 44.500 troops

28,500 English troops
Casualties and losses
Welsh coalition: 15,500 deaths England in the British Isles: 12,500 killed, 4,000 captured

The Welsh War of Independence, the Welsh Revolt, the Lawgoch Rising or Last War of Independence was fought between the Kingdom of England and a Scottish led coalition supporting a sovereign Principality of Wales from 1400 to 1404. It resulted in the independence of the Principality of Wales and coincided with an Anglo-French war in Europe.

Background

Owain Lawgoch, direct descendent of Llywelyn the Last, arrives in the court of King Louis X of France in 1372. He claimed that he should claim the throne of the Kingdom of Wales, and asked for at least 8,000 men and 15 ships to invade Kingdom of England for it. King Louis X, facing a two front protracted war against the Kingdom of England and the Empire of Hispania, eager to get the upper hand against England in the Hundred Years War, approved his bold plan and granted him his requested 8,000 men and 15 ships, however his invasion of Principality of Wales was repulsed by 2,000 Englishmen who were swiftly mustered to thwart his attempt. As a result Owain Lowgoch greatly suffered in a loss of prestige in the Principality of Wales after his failed attempt to invade and liberate his ancestral homeland.

King David II Bruce of Scotland offered Owain Lowgoch safe refuge in Edinburgh, promised him the full support of the Celtic Confederacy behind his cause to liberate his ancestral home of Wales, when the time is appropriate, as it had been a yearlong struggle of the both King David II Bruce and High King Tighearnach of Ireland, now also Ameraudur of the Celts, if he would agree to swear fealty to the Celtic Confederacy and the Ameraudur of the Celts, High King Tighearnach of Eiru at the time. Owain promised to join the Celtic Confederacy if he received help to restore the Kingdom of Wales as an independent realm from England.

For the reminder of the Louisian phase of HYW, Owain Lawgoch fought as a mercenary for the French. Owain's shattered legion, reduced to 6,000 men, returned to the Kingdom of France. They were send along with the fleet of 15 ships to break the blockade and lift the Siege of Calais. After successfully repulsing the English at Calais, Owain Lawgoch follows them into Picardy.

The Kingdom of England finally lost the Louisian phase of the HYW and was forced into a humiliating peace with Kingdom of France, forced to cede most of the Duchy of Aquitaine, apart from the enclave of Bayonne in the disastrous treaty of Treaty of Vincennes. John of Gaunt, Duke Lancaster, takes de facto control of Kingdom of England since King Edward IV fell gravely ill with dysentery and his heir Richard II passed away from the re-emergence of Black Death, an outbreak in the heavily war-torn and exhausted Kingdom of England. John of Gaunt's efforts center around strengthening and preparing his nation for the upcoming recognition of the Hundred Years War with Kingdom of France

However Principality of Wales largely remained a thorn on England's side and a constant sources of worry. To placate the Welsh nobility in order to continue the HYW without having to strain themselves to simultaneously handle the task of pacifying worrying a rebellious Principality of Wales, John of Gaunt makes a bold decision. He arranges for Owain Lawgoch estates in the Kingdom of England and the Principality of Wales, confiscated back in 1369, to be restored to him, along with a royal decree pardoning him for any actions he had taken against the English throne. Subsequently, the Principality of Wales was converted, demoted into the Duchy of Wales by royal decree. While also changes were made to the penal code by a royal decree, abolishing the distinctions for the Welsh and equating them as equal subjects to the realm to the English and Normans, aiming to soothe tensions in the area between the Welsh and the Anglo-Norman settlers in the Principality of Wales. All these actions were done in preparation for the inevitable re-sparking of hostilities with the Kingdom of France, as having a hot spot for rebellions inside our realm while at war with the French wouldn’t serve English interests. Owain Lawgoch was also offered the opportunity to marry Philippa of Lancaster, John of Gaunt's 16-year-old daughter and receive the Duchy of Wales as a dowry, ruling via jure uxoris over his wife's Duchy. Owain Lawgoch happily accepted the deal and the marriage and moved to England and took the title of Duke of Wales.

Owain Lawgoch, Duke of Wales worked to consolidate more effective power by assuming control of various castles along the coast and Severan River in the 1390s. He finally issued an appeal to the English Parliament in 1395, requesting that his title should be elevated to Prince of Wales, his fief once again promoted to the Principality of Wales, instead of a mere Duchy and to be granted the privilege of collecting all the taxes in the nation on behalf of King John, which King John accepted on the condition he would turn down the marriage and alliance offer of King Robert II Bruce of Scotland and cut all ties with him, which in turn Duke Owain Lawgoch accepted.

King John II, fearing military intervention from the Celtic Confederacy, send a force of 10,000 men into Northern England and Wales to ensure that a potential Scottish Invasion would be halted while mobilizing a fleet of 85 ships into the Irish Sea and the Celtic Sea to ensure that any Irish invasion force would be halted.

Prince Owain Lawgoch of Wales, filed a dispute to King John on the recent troops moved to the borders, in defense of Scotland. Prince Owain Lawgoch proposed that military in Wales should be under the control of the Prince, who will naturally be obligated to follow the orders of the King.

Again King Robert II Bruce of Scotland threatened with war, which allowed for a compromise solution to be found, 3,000 out of the 10,000 in total were given Prince Owain Lawgoch to command.

Timeline

1400

Having secured military and economic autonomy over the Principality of Wales, Prince Owain Lawgoch declared the independence of the Principality of Wales as a separate principality from Kingdom of England. He immediately brought the castles near the Severn River under his direct domain, and called for his allies to come to his aid.

In response most of the English nobility declared its support of King Henry IV's 14-year-old son Henry, Duke of Lancaster, as the true Prince of Wales.

King Robert II of Scotland and Petty King Domhnall II of Iceland pledged their support for Prince Owain of Wales. A marriage was arranged between Robert's second son William Bruce and Owain's daughter Katherine. Scottish diplomats made overtures to various European nations, including the Örebro Union, the Hanseatic League, and the Swiss Confederacy. After hearing the petitions of Celtic bishops, Pope Gregory XII excommunicated Henry IV of England.

Queen Fionnuala of Eiru, while stating that Ireland was sympathetic to the Welsh cause, maintained that no alliance existed with Prince Owain Lawgoch of Wales. She spurned further pleas for entry from Scotland, and Ireland remained neutral for the course of the war.

Battle of Leominster (MdM)

An illustration of the brave Welsh army led by Prince Owain Lawgoch of Wales at the Battle of Leominster (illustrated 15th century)

In response, King Henry IV of England raised 12,500 men and 200 ships against Wales. He also mobilized 5,000 more troops on the border with Scotland. The first action of the war was an inconclusive skirmish on the Scottish border, resulting in a minor Scottish strategic victory and an English victory over the Viking-era Scottish navy in the Irish Sea. At the Battle of Leominster, the English forces conquered Herefordshire pushed Owain's army west of the Severn River.

1401

With Scotland and the Celtic Confederacy launching a war against England, the nobles of Norway urged the King of the Örebro Union to seize the opportunity to either compel Iceland to relinquish their control over the North Sea, or take it by force. Since the Treaty of Akranes some 30 years prior, the finances of Sweden and Norway had slowly been in decline with the lack of North Sea trade, especially the lack of access to fishing and blubber, which was also compounded by Sweden's civil war leading up to the Örebro Union. At the same time, a number of volunteer soldiers and mercenaries from Denmark supported Scotland anyway, not leaving them completely alone. Later that year the dispute over the North Sea was finally resolved, in a way favourable to the Kingdom of Norway, in the Second Treaty of Akranes, opening the way for Örebro Union direct involvement in the Welsh War of Independence, answering the call of their allied Kingdom of Scotland to enter the conflict.

Heinrich II, Count of Lenzburg answered the call of King Robert II Bruce of Scotland, using his connections to persuade the Swiss Confederacy to partially subsidize 3,000 Swiss mercenaries and hire them to Scotland, he leads these men personally, crossing the English Channel and joining the coalition forces in Great Britain. Also another 3,000 other volunteers and mercenaries join the Scottish Army.

Queen Bonne of Iceland, not content to sit at home while her husband was on campaign, took charge of the Icelandic navy and engaged in raids and acts of piracy against the English, earning a heroic, legendary status as a fearless female admiral.

King Robert II Bruce of Scotland calls in his allies and relatives Count John II of Auvergne and Boulogne Count Louis d'Évreux of Étampes and Guînes, Count Waleran III [House Luxembourg] of Ligny and Saint-Pol to move against the English and reassert their control over their respective domains in Picardy, now that the English forces are preoccupied in the British Isles, but the French nobles refrain from direct action, instead putting political pressure on King Louis XI of France to intervene against England.

Heinrich II, Count of Lenzburg continued to urge King Louis XI of France to aid the Celts due to the aggression of the now excommunicated King Henry IV of England.

Battle of Carlisle (MdM)

An illustration of the clash of the Scottish and English armies at the Battle of Carlisle (illustrated 17th century)

Near the city of Carlisle, the Scottish forces consisting of 15,000 men manage to secure a narrow victory over England's forces consisting of 13,000 men, but doesn't capture the castle or surrounding cities, which are still occupied by English forces. The Scots lose 2,500 troops and the English lose 1,500 troops.

Peter-Fernando, King of Portugal, considered aligning himself with Scotland and Wales; however, Portugal's nobles threatened to depose Peter-Fernando and put his son Duarte on the throne if he followed through with supporting Scotland over England.

1402

An assassin slipped in during the night quiet and left undetected. Prince Owain Lawgoch lay dead with no obvious wounds, having died eating dinner alone in his quarters with no obvious perpetrators to be found. He was entombed in a tree that was shaped naturally like a Gothic arch. This only served to spur the march lords in fully supporting the Welsh rebellion. They elected to name Edmund Mortimer as the claimant Prince of Wales, sharing de facto power with Owain Glyndŵr, the Guardian of Wales.

King Louis XI of France declares the truce of 1398 with England null and void, in light of the excommunication. Invoking the Auld Alliance, the French Crown raises an army of 35,000 and opens a second front against them in Europe, launching offensives against Normandy, Picardy and Bayonne. Vast swathes of Normandy are reoccupied following this a French victory against the English.

In the plains of Welshpool, the English forces consisting of 7,000 men decisively win the battle against the Welsh forces consisting of 12,000 Welsh men. The English lose only 1,500 troops of the north flank and 500 troops of the southern flank. The Welsh lose only 2,000 troops and the rest retreat further north, but among the casualties is Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, recently defected to the Welsh side from England.

Battle of Lancaster (MdM)

An illustration of the clash between King Robert II Bruce of Scotland and King Henry IV of England at the Battle of Lancaster (illustrated 18th century)

Near the city of Lancaster, the Scottish and Örebro Union forces consisting of 30,000 men manage to secure a narrow victory over England's forces consisting of 20,000 men. Scotland manages to secure a narrow victory in northern Lancashire with their coalition of forces, losing 5,000 troops while England loses 2,500. They have some minor logistic difficulty sustaining this diverse group of forces in Northern England.

In the naval engagement of Stromung, the English fleet wins decisively in the North Sea against the Örebro Union fleet, severely hampering Scotland’s ability to maintain forces on the island the next year. At this point, the English navy splits to engage in the Irish Sea and support the Bay of Biscay. The Örebro Union navy loses 15 Longships and 10 Cogs, while the Scottish navy loses 5 Cogs, 8 Oighers and 2 Longships. The English navy loses 15 ships.

In the naval engagement of Liverpool Bay, with support of Örebro Union fleet, Scotland manages to recover their losses from the North Sea and break through the English blockade, now able to access Wales by sea. The Scottish/Örebro Union navy loses 10 Picards and 5 Hulks, while the English navy loses 20 ships.

1403

Battle of Abergwyn (MdM)

An illustration of the clash between the Scottish, Welsh and Scandinavians army on the one side and the English army on the other at the Battle of Abergwyn (illustrated 16th century)

Securing superiority over the Irish Sea, King Robert II Bruce personally leads the bulk of his army 20,000 men across the Irish Sea to Wales, seeking to decisively defeat the English forces once and for all. The King's (military) education that included the classics, enabled him to understand how his overstretched previous position was unsustainable, how progressing forward from such an exposed position, with his supplies cut off from him just to achieve some more pyrrhic victories wasn't the way to win this war by pressing from land, so he needed to cross the sea to assist Wales effectively.

The rest of his army consisting of 2,500 men under the command of his son William Bruce make an orderly retreat back to the safety of Scotland, while pillaging, plundering and killing everyone, including women children and generally everything (such as livestock and non domesticated animals) in their march back, scorching what they cannot keep for themselves, not just crops but settlements and even forests, even salting the scorched fields out of spite, leaving only ruin behind to deprive everything they possibly can from England, as far as the eye can see there is only scorched earth. The countryside of Northwestern England became completely depopulated. 

Edmund Mortimer, the claimant Prince of Wales, extended an official alliance with France to secure his position against England, despite his recent losses on the battlefield. King Robert II Bruce personally leads his army in Wales, 20,000 men under his command, assisted by 10,000 Welsh allies under the command of Owain Glyndŵr, Guardian of Wales. King Robert II seeks a decisive battle against the English to decide the fate of Wales once and for all. He faces the English forces in the plains of Abergwyn, securing a decisive victory against them, killing 4,000 English and capturing another 4,000 of them, while the English force only managed to inflict 2,500 deaths on the Scottish/Örebro Union and another 1,500 deaths on the Welsh. With this decisive defeat in Wales and the war turning against him in France, King Henry IV chooses to prioritize the continental front and sues for peace, beginning negotiations with Scotland and Wales.

1404

After a long negotiations finally, the Second Treaty of Caernarfon is signed, securing the independence of the Principality of Wales after 2-3 centuries of English rule.

Aftermath

Legacy

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