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The War of the Roses

Agenda: Open Agenda

The Wars of the Roses were a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne in the mid-to-late fifteenth century. The wars were fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet; the House of Lancaster, and the House of York. The wars extinguished the male lines of the two rival dynasties, leading to the Tudor family inheriting the Lancastrian claim. Following the war, the Houses of Tudor and York were united, creating a new royal dynasty, thereby resolving the issue of rival claims to the throne.


The conflict had its roots in the wake of the Hundred Years' War and its emergent socio-economic troubles which weakened the prestige of the English monarchy, unfolding structural problems of bastard feudalism and the powerful duchies created by Edward III, and the mental infirmity and weak rule of Henry VI, which revived interest in the Yorkist claim to the throne by Richard of York. Disagreement remains among historians over which of these factors were the main catalyst for the wars.