War of the Two Roses with Causes and consequences

War of the Two Roses

Civil war that pitted the House of Lancaster against the House of York. War of the Two Roses with causes

Date 1455-1487.
Place England, Wales and Calais (France).
Belligerents York House vs. Lancaster House.
Outcome Victory of the Tudors, allies of the Lancasters.

The War of the Two Roses was a civil war that between 1455 and 1487 pitted the House of Lancaster against the House of York . Both families claimed the throne of England because they were related to the Plantagenet dynasty, which ruled the country between 1154 and 1399.

The conflict involved the entire English feudal nobility , who supported each house based on their kinship and marriage alliances.

The name War of the Two Roses alludes to the emblems of both families, the white rose of the Yorks and the red rose of the Lancasters, and it became general in times of Romanticism , at the beginning of the 19th century .

In England, the War of the Two Roses marked the passage from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age , represented by the rise to the throne of the Tudor dynasty. War of the Two Roses with causes

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Development of the War of the Two Roses

To facilitate understanding, the War of the Two Roses can be divided into the following stages:

  • Late first reign of Henry VI of Lancaster (1455-1461): since 1453 Richard, Duke of York, was regent of King Henry VI of Lancaster, who had mental problems that temporarily made him unable to rule. Ricardo conspired to keep the crown, but was expelled from the court by Margaret of Anjou, the king‘s wife. To regain his position of power, in 1455 Ricardo faced and defeated the royal troops at the Battle of San Albano. He was thus appointed regent again, but in 1456 the king sent him to Ireland. In 1459 Ricardo invaded England, but his forces were defeated and he had to go into exile in Calais, France. In 1460 the forces of the Duke of York crossed the English Channel and took the king prisoner. The Act of Agreement was then signed, which recognized the right of the Yorks to succeed Henry VI on the throne. However, this pact was rejected by Queen Margaret,
  • First reign of Edward IV of York (1461-1470): after the death of Richard of York, his eldest son Eduardo recruited an army and entered London, where he was proclaimed king. With money and supplies from local merchants, he defeated the Lancaster forces at the Battle of Towton on March 29, 1461. Despite his victory and his official coronation, he had to fight for several years to take fortresses that were in his hands. of supporters of the Lancasters. In 1465 he managed to capture the deposed Henry VI, who was confined in the Tower of London. His position of power seemed assured, but in 1470 the Earl of Warwick, upset that he had lost influence at court, allied himself with the exiled Margaret of Anjou and rebelled against the king. Margarita and Warwick’s troops defeated the royal forces, so Edward IV took refuge in Burgundy.
  • Second reign of Henry VI of Lancaster (1470-71) : after the departure of Edward IV into exile, Henry VI was released and regained the throne, but had to rule under the influence of the Earl of Warwick. The restoration of the Lancasters displeased George of York, brother of the deposed king. When George learned that Edward had returned to England, he went to meet him and together they defeated Warwick and the Lancasters at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. A few days later, King Henry VI was assassinated and his wife Margaret confined to the Tower of London.
  • Second reign of Edward IV of York (1471-1483) : Edward IV, restored to the throne in 1471, was able to rule in peace until his death in 1483, when he was succeeded by his son Edward V, who was 12 years old.
  • Reign of Eduardo V of York (1483) : the arrival to the throne of Eduardo V marked the beginning of new political disorders due to the young age of the monarch and the ambitions of the Duke of Gloucester, younger brother of Eduardo IV. Gloucester, appointed regent of Edward V, took advantage of his position of power to imprison the young king and his younger brother, Prince Richard.
  • Reign of Richard III of York (1483-85) : Parliament agreed to crown the Duke of Gloucester, who took the name of Richard III. Soon after, his nephews Eduardo and Ricardo mysteriously disappeared from the Tower of London. The Lancasters took advantage of the accusations of tyranny against Ricardo to ally themselves with a powerful relative, Enrique Tudor. This assembled an army with which he defeated Richard III at Bosworth, who died in battle. War of the Two Roses with causes
  • Beginning of the reign of Enrique VII Tudor (1485-1487) : after his coronation like king of England, in 1485, Enrique VII married with Isabel de York, daughter of Eduardo IV. Thus he brought together in his person the two royal houses that had fought for so many years. Some historians consider this fact as the end point of the civil war. Others maintain that the conflict ended in 1487, when an impostor posing as a York took up arms against the king, but was defeated. From then on, Henry VII was able to rule in peace and started the Tudor dynasty.

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Causes and consequences of the War of the Two Roses


The main causes of the War of the Two Roses were the following:

  • The rivalry between the House of York and the House of Lancaster , which began in 1399 when Henry, Duke of Lancaster, overthrew King Richard II of the Plantagenet dynasty and assumed the crown under the name of Henry IV. At his death, in 1413, he was succeeded by his son, Henry V, and then by his grandson Henry VI.
  • The defeat of England in the 100 Years’ War and the loss of almost all disputed English territories, for which Henry VI and his advisers were blamed.
  • The illness of Enrique VI that temporarily incapacitated him to govern and forced him to create a Council of Regency headed by Richard of York as Lord Protector.
  • The ambitions of Richard of York who claimed for himself the crown of England. In his favor, he cited his kinship with the Plantagenets, the inability of the king to rule, and the fact that the Lancasters had usurped the throne in 1399.


Among the main consequences of the War of the Two Roses are:

  • The extinction of the Plantagenet dynasty and that of the male branch of the House of York.
  • The weakening of the English feudal nobility, who lost thousands of lords on the battlefields. When the war ended, the lands they owned became the domains of the Crown, which increased their power and wealth.
  • The growing influence of London merchants , who financed first the Yorks and then Henry VII.
  • The establishment of a centralized monarchy by the Tudor dynasty, inaugurated by Henry VII.
  • The end of English influence in Western Europe, which had been notorious between the mid- 14th century and the early 15th century . War of the Two Roses with causes

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