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Saint Joan of Arc or The Maid of Orléans (French: Jeanne d'Arc, ca. 1412 – 30 May 1431) is considered a national heroine of France and a 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, sold to the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court, and burned at the stake when she was nineteen years old.
Twenty-five years after the execution, Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr. She 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 which 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 Orléans 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 (La Pucelle d'Orléans), Schiller (Die Jungfrau von Orléans ), Verdi (Giovanna d'Arco), Tchaikovsky (Орлеанская дева), Mark Twain (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc), Jean Anouilh (L'Alouette), Bertolt Brecht (Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe), George Bernard Shaw (Saint Joan), and Maxwell Anderson (Joan of Lorraine)