Bouvines, Battle of


Bouvines, Battle of
(July 27, 1214) Decisive victory won by the French king Philip II over an international coalition that included Emperor Otto IV, King John of England, and several powerful French vassals.

Fought in the marshy plain between Bouvines and Tournai in Flanders, the battle was furiously contested but ended in a clear French victory. It confirmed Philip's possession of French lands formerly held by the English and added to the power and prestige of the French monarchy. John's defeat increased the opposition of his barons.

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France [1214]
      (July 27, 1214), battle that gave a decisive victory to the French king Philip II Augustus over an international coalition of the Holy Roman emperor Otto IV, King John of England, and the French vassals—Ferdinand (Ferrand) of Portugal, count of Flanders, and Renaud (Raynald) of Dammartin, count of Boulogne. The victory enhanced the power and the prestige of the French monarchy in France and in the rest of Europe.

      The leaders of the coalition had planned for King John to land with his forces in western France, to stir up revolts in Aquitaine and Anjou, and then to march on Paris, while the imperial forces and those of the counts of Flanders and Boulogne advanced on Paris from the north. The plan failed when John was defeated at La Roche-aux-Moines, near Angers, on July 2, 1214; Philip was then able to take the offensive in the north. A decisive battle was fought in the marshy plain between Bouvines (Bouvignies) and Tournai in Flanders. The furious contest ended in a clear French victory: Renaud and Ferdinand were taken prisoner, though Otto managed to escape.

      As a result of the two battles, Philip Augustus was confirmed in possession of most of the former English lands in France. King John, by losing them, faced the growing opposition of his barons. In Germany, Otto IV's power weakened considerably.

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Universalium. 2010.

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