Joan of Arc was born in the village of Domrémy, in the Champagne region of northeastern France, in 1412. Joan said she had been visited by saints who instructed her to lead the French army against the English. In May 1429, she arrived at the siege of Orléans and convinced the commander of the French forces to allow her to lead an attack on the city gates. Joan’s assault was successful, and she soon became a folk hero in France.
In 1430, Joan traveled to Rheims to attend the coronation of Charles VII, who had been crowned King of France with Joan’s help several years earlier. While Joan was in Rheims, a group of French officials charged her with heresy and witchcraft and ordered her to be burned at the stake. Joan was captured and put on trial, during which she testified that she had been directed by God to help Charles regain the French throne. The court found Joan guilty of heresy and sentenced her to death. Joan was executed in May 1431, at the age of 19.
Hundreds of years later, Joan of Arc remains an important figure in French history. She has been honored as a saint by the Catholic Church, and in 1920 she was declared a national heroine of France. Joan of Arc is also celebrated as a symbol of female courage and strength.
Joan said that she received her first vision from God when she was thirteen years old. In this vision, she was told to help the French army recapture Orleans, which at the time was under English control (Thurston). Joan believed that it was her mission from God to rid France of the English and restore Charles VII to the throne. Joan gathered a small group of followers around her and began making her way towards Orleans. She arrived there in April 1429 and succeeded in rallying the French troops to fight against the English (Thurston).
Joan and her troops then went on to win several key battles, including the Battle of Patay, which effectively ended the Hundred Years’ War. Joan was captured by the Burgundians, who were allies of the English, in May 1430 and taken to Rouen, where she was put on trial for heresy (Thurston).
Joan was found guilty and sentenced to death. On May 30, 1431, she was burned at the stake. Joan’s remains were later moved to a church in Paris, where they remain today. Joan of Arc is remembered as a brave and courageous woman who fought for what she believed in, even when it meant risking her life. She is an inspiration to all who value determination and strength of character.
The most pressing concern for the French was the survival of France as an independent nation rather than as part of an Anglo-French empire ruled by the English monarchy. The French were determined to drive out the English and crown Charles VII king (Reither 227-229). Joan was a simple country girl who grew up in a devout Catholic family with five brothers (Thurston). Her mother was extremely pious and had a significant impact on her life.
Joan began to hear voices when she was thirteen years old, which she believed were messages from God (Reither 229). The first voice she heard told her to go to the French royal court and help the Dauphin (Charles VII) become king. Joan did not hesitate to follow the voice’s orders, even though she knew it would be difficult because she did not have any money or training (Reither 233).
Joan arrived at the royal court in 1429, and quickly gained fame for her military successes. She led the French army to several victories against the English, including the siege of Orleans in 1429. Joan was captured by the English in 1430 and put on trial for heresy. The trial was a sham, and Joan was found guilty and executed in 1431.
Joan’s life and death have been the subject of much debate over the centuries. Some people believe she was a divinely inspired saint, while others see her as a deluded young woman who was manipulated by the French royal court (Michelet 9-13). Joan’s trial and execution were a turning point in the Hundred Years’ War, and they helped to cement France’s status as an independent nation.
At the age of thirteen, Joan began hearing voices that she identified as St. Margaret, St. Catherine, and St. Michael (Thurston). Her voices influenced her to promise to remain a virgin (Lucie-Smith). The voices instructed Joan to journey to see Robert Baudricourt, the Captain of Vaucouleurs, who would arrange for her transport to meet with the king (Michelet 12).
Joan made the long journey to Vaucouleurs and finally met with Robert Baudricourt. She told him her story and begged him to allow her to go to the king. Baudricourt dismissed her as a crazy girl, but Joan was not discouraged. She returned to Vaucouleurs several times, always asking to be taken to the king. Finally, in early 1429, Joan’s persistence paid off and she was given an escort to bring her to Chinon, where King Charles VII was staying (Michelet 12).
Charles listened to Joan’s story and was at first skeptical, but he finally agreed to let her lead the French army. Joan quickly proved herself in battle, leading the French to several victories over the English. Joan became a national hero and was loved and worshiped by her troops (Lucie-Smith). However, Joan’s success did not sit well with all of the French nobility. Some were jealous of her power and influence, and others saw her as a threat to their own positions (Michelet 13).
In 1430, Joan was captured by the English while leading an attack on the city of Orleans. She was taken to Rouen and put on trial for heresy. The trial was a sham and Joan was found guilty despite her obvious innocence. She was sentenced to death by burning at the stake.
Joan steadfastly maintained her innocence until the end, even singing hymns as she was led to the stake (Michelet 15). Joan of Arc is a national heroine in France and is considered a saint by the Catholic Church. She was only nineteen years old when she was executed, but in that short time she had changed the course of history.