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Events from History: 29 April 1429

A Turning Tide: Joan of Arc and the Siege of Orleans

On April 29, 1429, Joan of Arc, a young peasant girl claiming to be guided by divine voices, arrived at the besieged city of Orleans, marking a pivotal moment in the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. The city had been under English siege since October 12, 1428, and its fall seemed imminent, which would have allowed the English to dominate the Loire Valley and potentially secure their hold over France. Joan’s arrival brought the French forces a renewed sense of hope and determination. Clad in armour and carrying her banner, Joan entered Orleans and was embraced by the city’s inhabitants and defenders as a symbol of potential salvation. Her presence revitalised the French troops, and her conviction that she was on a divine mission inspired a remarkable change in morale.

Within days of her arrival, the dynamics of the siege began to shift. On May 4, under Joan’s urging and leadership, the French launched a bold attack on the English fortifications. The ensuing battles from May 4 to May 8 saw the French forces, imbued with newfound vigour and purpose, successfully capture the English strongholds surrounding Orleans. The siege was lifted on May 8 in a decisive victory attributed largely to Joan’s influence and leadership. This triumph marked the first major French success in the war after a series of defeats and established Joan of Arc as a formidable figure in French history. Her role in the Siege of Orleans would catapult her into leading further military campaigns and, ultimately, play a crucial part in changing the course of the Hundred Years’ War in favour of the French crown. Joan’s arrival at Orleans on April 29 became a historic event in military history and a legendary moment, symbolising the power of faith and courage against overwhelming odds.

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