Siege of Orleans

The Conviction of de Rais. September 15, 1440.

Even if there had been nothing else unusual about the Breton nobleman Gilles de Rais (1404–40), his outstanding career as a soldier in the Hundred Years’ War and as a comrade in arms of Joan of Arc would have been enough to guarantee his place in history. Today, though, those achievements can only be seen in the shadow of the secret life he led as the perpetrator of more than a hundred gruesome child murders, a rampage which made him arguably the first serial killer in recorded history. The early life of Gilles de Rais was marked by tragedy. Both his parents died about 1415: his father, Guy de Laval, was killed in a hunting accident that de Rais may have witnessed, and his mother, Marie de Craon, died of an unknown cause. He was raised by his maternal grandfather, Jean de Craon. As a young...

Joan of Arc Captured – May 23, 1430 AD

The Hundred Years’ War began in 1337 between the English under the House of Plantagenet and the French under the House of Valois, for the French throne. In 1380, Charles VI was crowned King of France through inheritance at the age of 11, but was under regency of his four uncles until his 21st birthday and ruled until his death in 1422. His uncles were the Dukes of Burgundy, Berry, Anjou, and Bourbon. Charles VI, suffered from periods of insanity and was at times unable to rule. As such, Louis, who was the king’s brother, Duke of Orléans and Count of Armagnac, fought for guardianship over the royal children and the regency of France itself with the king’s cousin, John, the Duke of Burgundy. This conflict ultimately resulted in the kidnapping of the royal children and the assassination in 14...

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