On This Day

Joan of Arc

French Soldier and National Heroine Joan of Arc

Profession: French Soldier and National Heroine


Biography: Nicknamed "the maid of Orleans" Joan of Arc was born around 1410 into a peasant family and into a France beset by internal conflicts and under attack from the English. At the age of 12 she claimed to have had her first vision of saints and angels eventually exhorting her to aid France in driving out the English.

Arriving with the French army she successfully led attacks that broke the siege of Orleans in 1430 dressed in a suit of armour. She later helped led the army to Rheims where King Charles VII was crowned.

Joan of Arc was captured during an engagement at Compiegne and she was put on trial by the English supporter the French Bishop Pierre Cauchon. The trial began in January 1431. Joan of Arc withstood days of interrogation before being found guilty of the charge of dressing in men's clothing. Joan agreed to don women's clothing but when she wore men's clothing again to avoid rape she was condemned for heresy and burnt at the stake on the 30th May. A retrial 25 years later found her innocent. She was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1920.

Born: January 15, 1412
Birthplace: Domrémy, duchy of Bar, France
Star Sign: Capricorn

Died: May 30, 1431 (aged 19)
Cause of Death: Executed and burnt at the stake

Historical Events

  • 1429-04-29 Joan of Arc arrives at the siege of Orleans
  • 1429-05-07 English siege of Orleans broken by Joan of Arc and the French army
  • 1429-07-16 Joan of Arc and the French army enter the city of Rheims
  • 1429-11-04 Joan of Arc and Charles d'Albret liberate the heavily fortified town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier after a siege
  • 1430-05-23 Joan of Arc is captured at Compiegne and sold to the English
  • 1431-01-03 Joan of Arc handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon
  • 1431-01-09 Judges' investigations for the trial of Joan of Arc begin in Rouen, France, the seat of the English occupation government
  • 1431-02-21 Joan of Arc's first day of interrogation during her trial for heresy
  • 1431-05-28 Joan of Arc is accused of relapsing into heresy by donning male clothing again, providing justification for her execution
  • 1431-05-30 Hundred Years' War: 19 year old Joan of Arc is burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal in Rouen, France
  • 1456-07-07 A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death
  • 1909-04-19 Joan of Arc receives beatification by the Roman Catholic Church
  • 1920-05-16 Joan of Arc (Jeanne D'arc) canonized a saint
  • 1928-04-21 "The Passion of Joan of Arc", directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, starring Renée Jeanne Falconetti and Eugène Silvain, is released in Denmark
  • 1938-05-12 Arthur Honegger and Paul Claudel's oratorio "Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher" (Joan of Arc at the Stake) premieres in Basel, Switzerland

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