Joan D’Arc wears many hats: a martyr, saint, and military leader. She was a modern-day teenage woman that was driven by the voices she heard and fought to drive the English out of France.
Who Was Joan of Arc?
Joan of Arc was her birth name, but she nicknamed herself “The Maid of Orleans.” She was born around 1412 to a humble family, especially considering that her father was a tenant farmer. Joan D’Arc lived in Domremy; a village in Northeastern France. It was here that Joan learned how to read and write. Joan was a France national heroine, and at age 14 she led the French army to victory over the English men.
Raised Amidst Political Chaos
During most of Joan’s childhood, France was in constant conflict with England in a war that had lasted for over a hundred years. England had the upper hand most of the time. In 1420, the countries signed a peace treaty that made the English Prince, Henry V, the ruler of both England and France. When his son succeeded him in 1422, England started occupying most of the property in Northern France, including Joan’s village.
Recognizing Her Calling
Joan of Arc knew her calling when she was 13 years old. She started hearing voices from God, who asked her to go on a mission to save France. Joan delivered her message in front of a private audience at King Charles VII’s castle. By the time she was 16 years, Joan had taken the vow of chastity. She said that her purpose was not to marry but rather to serve God.
Joan Dressed as a Man
By 1428, Joan had managed to gather a small group of followers that believed she would save France. She resided at a local commune. Even though Joan of Arc had followers Robert de Baudricourt, the local magistrate was convinced that she wouldn’t be strong enough for France. To prove him wrong, Joan dressed as a man and cut her hair to disguise her appearance. She sneaked past the magistrate and led an army that beat the English military.
Her Last Battle
After her army’s victory, Joan of Arc’s reputation spread all over France. Joan kept her promise and ensured the coronation of King Charles VII in July 1429. She did not want to stop after her victory; she wanted to fight on to ensure that France regained Paris. However, King Charles was afraid that Joan would gain a lot of power, and he stopped her.
Charles asked Joan to confront a Burgundian assault on Compiegne, which was a commune in Northern France. She didn’t know that this would be her last journey as a militant.
Accused of Being a Witch
When Joan of Arc went to confront the Burgundian, she was thrown from the horse and left outside the town’s gates. The Burgundians captured Joan and put her on trial. She had to answer over 70 charges, including that of dressing like a man and accusations of practicing witchcraft.
Joan of Arc’s Death
Joan knew that to be freed; she had to accept the charges. So, she signed a legal confession and received a death sentence on May 30th, 1431. Most people celebrate Joan of Arc to date, and she is a heroine to many. Joan is the patron saint for France.