Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1429

Joan of Arc relieves Orleans

During the Hundred Years’ War, the 17-year-old French peasant Joan of Arc leads a French force in relieving the city of Orleans, besieged by the English since October.

At the age of 16, “voices” of Christian saints told Joan to aid Charles, the French dauphin, in gaining the French throne and expelling the English from France. Convinced of the validity of her divine mission, Charles furnished Joan with a small force of troops. She led her troops to Orleans, and on April 29, as a French sortie distracted the English troops on the west side of the city, Joan entered unopposed by its eastern gate. Bringing needed supplies and troops into the besieged city, she also inspired the French to a passionate resistance and through the next week led the charge during a number of skirmishes and battles. On one occasion, she was even hit by an arrow, but after dressing her wounds she returned to the battle. On May 8, the siege of Orleans was broken, and the English retreated.

During the next five weeks, Joan led French forces into a number of stunning victories over the English, and Reims, the traditional city of coronation, was captured in July. Later that month, Charles VII was crowned king of France, with Joan of Arc kneeling at his feet.

In May 1430, while leading another military expedition against the English occupiers of France, Bourguignon soldiers captured Joan and sold her to the English, who tried her for heresy. She was tried as a heretic and witch, convicted, and on May 30, 1431, burned at the stake at Rouen. In 1920, Joan of Arc, already one of the great heroes of French history, was recognized as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Operation Frequent Wind begins

Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation on record, begins removing the last Americans from Saigon. The North Vietnamese had launched their final offensive in March 1975 and the South Vietnamese forces had fallen back before their rapid advance, losing Quang ...read more

New casualty figures released.

U.S. casualty figures for April 18 to April 24 are released. The 45 killed during that time brought total U.S. losses for the Vietnam War to 45,019 since 1961. These figures made Southeast Asia fourth in total losses sustained by the U.S. during a war, topped only by the number ...read more

Cyclone kills 135,000 in Bangladesh

On this day in 1991, a devastating cyclone hits Bangladesh, killing more than 135,000 people. Even though there had been ample warning of the coming storm and shelter provisions had been built in the aftermath of a deadly 1970 storm, this disaster was one of the worst of the ...read more

Rodney King trial verdict announced

A jury in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley acquits four police officers who had been charged with using excessive force in arresting black motorist Rodney King a year earlier. The announcement of the verdict, which enraged the black community, prompted the L.A. riots, which ...read more