Jeanne de Clisson, nicknamed the Lioness of Britanny, was born in 1300 to an aristocratic family. Her parents were named Maurice Montaigu and Letice de Parthenay.
In the year 1312, around the age of 12, Jeanne walked down the aisle with her first husband, Geoffrey de Chateaubriant VIII, a 19- year-old nobleman in Britanny. Thirteen years after her wedlock with Geoffrey Chadeubriant, she experienced the first tragedy of her life. Geoffrey, her husband, died, leaving her behind as a widow at the young age of 26.
Later on, she found herself another man, though she almost got married to a man before then named Guy de Penthievre the marriage was later annuled. This time around, the knot was tied with Oliver de Clisson, the man with whom she shares the last name she is known for today. The marriage was longer than her initial ones.
During those times, there were a lot of battles that frequently ensued between the England and France with Britanny becoming a battle ground. She and her family had to cope with the wars and this experience set her on the path to the feats history has recorded in her name.
Oliver, Jeanne’s husband, was a soldier subject to Charles De Blois. But he was abducted by the English forces in a bid to defend the Brenton town of Vannes. Oliver’s captors wanted a ransom from his boss, Charles de Blois claiming that’s the means to get his soldier back. He was released afterwards and returned back to his wife, Jeanne, and the entire family happily. Few years after, Olivier was invited to a tournament outside of Britain in celebration of France’s truce with England. Unfortunately, it was a lie. Immediatly, Oliver arrived there, he was accused and arrested for treason by Charles de Blois because he believed he was an English spy. Without hesitation, Oliver was executed by decapitation in Paris that year.
Jeanne having been informed later about her beloved husband’s death was filled with rage. She decided to leave for a revenge mission. With no evidence to prove that her husband was guilty of the alleged treason, she sold off Oliver’s land and her possessions to raise a small army for her revenge mission. With this, she started her payback plan against her number one on the hit list – Charles de Blois. She attacked the Castle of Toffou and killed everyone except a survivor which she left intentionally to spread the news about her coming and warned against those that would try to obstruct her revenge. From there, she embarked on the next plan of attack.
With an axe to the grind, she and her troops traveled through France rallying other unhappy rich people to turn against the King. Afterwards, they trawled through France, mercilessly destroying anyone who is still in support of the King.
At a point, Jeanne was declared a traitor which made it hard for her to gather more allies. She had to say peace to fighting on land and took the battle to the high seas. She bought a small fleet of ships later on, through her husband’s left fortune which eventually was known as the vicious Black Fleet. The warrior attributes of Jeanne made her news spread to the ears of a certain powerful agent – the King of England, Edward III which had the same mission as hers, fighting the French King.
Despite fighting off the French King, Jeanne still worked as the age-old working mom. With no one to count on to take care of her kids, she took her kids along with her as she sailed the high seas. She is a definition of a strong woman, I must say.
Jeanne was known for her brutal Black Fleet which would always attack countless French ships. Her legendary was expressed by her actions in never hesitating to board the victim’s ships and slaughter nearly all inside with the nobles beheaded by her wicked axe – symbolizing the revenge for her husband’s demise.
During her attacks on the French King, the King struck back, sending out his best soldiers to attack Jeanne and her men. This made Jeanne to retreat and made a decision to journey back to England. On her way to England, one of her sons, Guillaume, perished due to exposure. Yet, Jeanne didn’t give up, she had no option than to continue with the journey to save the other kids which she managed to do by getting to England.
On getting to England, Jeanne decided to work for.the English and their Breton allies who considered it a great privilege for a hero like her to be amidst them. Through this, she got resources that helped strengthened her fleet and she continued to dominate any French ships who entered the English channel.
She was known for her brutal Black Fleet with blood-red sails and her flagship named My Revenge. She was indeed a cut-throat, swashbuckling, merciless pirate.
She later found love again and tied knot with her fourth husband whose name is Walter, she decided to retire after the knot with Walter and moved to enjoy her twilight years in Britanny. She breathe her last in Hennebont, Britanny, around the age of 60. Jeanne did prove of what mighty valour a woman can be with her life.
Without doubt and all taken into considerations, Jeanne de Clisson lived a valiant life worthy of the nickname, ” The Lioness of Britanny” as against the custom that limited other women in the 13th century. She was one of a kind and she is still remembered for her bravery till this day.