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The Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) is a term for short battle-periods, in total not lasting longer than one year. The opponents were the Houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose), and - to put it in a simple way - they were mostly family quarrels for succession between the different lines of Edward III's descendants and their families-in-law, aristocrats like the Nevilles, Beauforts, or Woodvilles. There were three major wars:

The First War (c.1450s-1464):

Its reason was Henry VI's inability to rule over England and to hold France. During his mental illness, Richard Duke of York, Protector of the Realm, entered  into an alliance with the Nevilles, Richard Earl of Salisbury and his son Richard Earl of Warwick, leading to the Battle of St. Albans (1455) with the aim of dominating the King's Council against Queen Margaret, not of over-throwing the king himself. But the only way to overcome the queen was Edward IV's (Richard of York's son) accession to the throne with the help of the Earl of Warwick, the "kingmaker", in 1461.

The Second War (1469-1471):

Its reason was Warwick's discontent of not having a greater voice in the King's Council, which led to an extraordinary alliance between Edward IV and Queen Margaret, that permitted one more year of Lancastrian reign under Henry VI in 1471. But after new quarrels, Edward's victory at Tewkesbury (1471) and the murder of Henry VI meant the end of the House of Lancaster.

Third War (1483-1485):

Richard III, Edward IV's brother, either killed, or drove into exile, all relatives who stood in his way. Henry VII Tudor defeated Richard at Bosworth (1485) and by the the marriage between Richard's niece Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor, the Wars of the Roses were finally ended.

The Wars of the Roses
15th Century