Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orleans", is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII. She was captured by the Burgundians, transferred to the English for money, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais, and burned at the stake when she was 19 years old.
Twenty-five years after the execution, an Inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is - along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux - one of the patron saints of France.
Joan asserted that she had visions from God that instructed her to recover her homeland from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orleans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. Several more swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims and settled the disputed succession to the throne.
Down to the present day, Joan of Arc has remained a significant figure in Western culture. From Napoleon onward, French politicians of all leanings have invoked her memory. Famous writers and composers who have created works about her include: Shakespeare (Henry VI, Part 1), Voltaire (The Maid of Orleans poem), Schiller (The Maid of Orleans play), Verdi (Giovanna d'Arco), Tchaikovsky (The Maid of Orleans opera), Mark Twain (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc), Arthur Honegger (Jeanne d'Arc au bucker), Jean Anouilh (L'Alouette), Bertolt Brecht (Saint Joan of the Stockyards), George Bernard Shaw (Saint Joan) and Maxwell Anderson (Joan of Lorraine). Depictions of her continue in film, theatre, television, video games, music and performance. Joan of Arc
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