Flag of France

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Flag of France

Mensagem  Admin em Qua Nov 19, 2008 8:09 pm

The national flag of France (known in French as drapeau tricolore, drapeau bleu-blanc-rouge, drapeau français, never, le tricolore and, in military parlance, les couleurs) is a tricolour featuring three vertical bands coloured blue (hoist side), white, and red.

It is known to English speakers as the French tricolour or the tricolour. The traditional emblem of France was the fleur-de-lis, or lily, which first appeared on the arms in the 12th century. The Tricolore was used during the Revolution and has since become a symbol of liberty around the world. Other nations have also adopted the design. Because France has no arms, the Tricolore is also the national emblem.The colors probably derived from those of Paris (red), combined with those of the Bourbon Dynasty (white), though they are usually associated with liberty, equality, and fraternity, the ideals of the French Revolution.

Currently, the flag is 50% wider than its height (i.e. in the proportion 2:3) and, except in the navy, has stripes of equal width. Initially, the three stripes of the flag were not equally wide, being in the proportions 30 (blue), 33 (white) and 37 (red). The theory behind this was that if they were equal then the white stripe, being brighter, would appear disproportionately wider to the human eye. Under Napoleon I, the proportions were changed to make the stripes' width equal, but by a regulation dated 17 May 1853, the navy went back to using the 30:33:37 proportions, which it continues to use.

The blue and red were the ancient colors of Paris, to which the Commander of the Guard, Lafayette, reputedly, added the royal white.

The exact meaning of the colors has been added after the fact. It is sometimes said that the colors of the French flag represent the three main estates of the Ancien Régime (the clergy: white, the nobility: red and the bourgeoisie: blue). Blue, as the symbol of the bourgeois class, comes first within the colour enumeration and red, representing the nobility, comes last. Both extreme colours are situated on each side of white referring to a superior order.

During the early Middle Ages, the oriflamme, the flag of Saint-Denis, was used—red, with two, three or five spikes. Originally, it was the personal flag of Charlemagne, given to him by the Pope in the ninth century. Over time, it became the royal banner under the Carolingians and the Capetians. It was stored in Saint-Denis abbey, where it was taken when war broke out. French kings went forth into battle preceded either by Saint Martin’s red cape, which was supposed to protect the monarch, or by the red banner of Saint Denis.

The three colours first appeared together tied as ribbons, on the pontifical banner that Pope Leo III offered to Emperor Charlemagne in 796, the blue being the colour of the Church, the white that of virgins, and the red homage paid to Christian martyrs.

Later during the Middle Ages, these colours came to be associated with the reigning house of France. In 1328, the coat-of-arms of the House of Valois was blue with gold fleurs-de-lis bordered in red. From this time on, the kings of France were represented in vignettes and manuscripts wearing a red gown under a blue coat decorated with gold fleurs-de-lis. It should be noted that, in liturgical symbolism, gold is the equivalent of white. Many other examples could be given of the association of the three colours—blue, white and red—with the French kings and their households.

During the Hundred Years War, England was recognised by a red cross, Burgundy, a red saltire, and France, a white cross. This cross could figure either on a blue or a red field. The blue field eventually became the common standard for French armies. The French regiments were later assigned the white cross as standard, with their proper colours in the cantons.

The flag of Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years War is described in her own words, "I had a banner of which the field was sprinkled with lilies; the world was painted there, with an angel at each side; it was white of the white cloth called 'boccassin'; there was written above it, I believe, 'JHESUS MARIA'; it was fringed with silk.".

From the accession of the Bourbons on the throne of France, the green ensign of the navy became a plain white flag, being the symbol of purity and of royal authority (this flag also became the de facto national flag of the Kingdom of France)[citation needed]. The merchant navy was assigned "the old flag of the nation of France", the white cross on a blue field.

The drapeau tricolor became popular at the Revolution, the blue and the red being the colours of Paris with the white of France. The final design was adopted in 1794.

After the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the Tricolour — with its revolutionary connotations — was replaced by the white flag which had been in use before the Revolution. However, following the July Revolution of 1830, the new "Citizen-King," Louis-Philippe, restored the tricolour.

The tricolour remained the national flag under the Second Republic and Second Empire. Following the overthrow of Napoleon III, voters elected a royalist majority to the National Assembly of the new Third Republic. This parliament then offered the throne to the Bourbon pretender, Henri, comte de Chambord. However, he insisted that he would accept the throne on the condition that the tricolour be replaced by the white flag. As the tricolour had become a cherished national symbol, this proved impossible to accommodate. Plans to restore the monarchy were adjourned and ultimately dropped, and France has remained a republic, with the tricolour flag, ever since.

The Vichy régime, which dropped the word "republic" in favour of "the French state", maintained the use of the tricolour but also used as a presidential standard a version of the tricolour defaced with a fasces and stars. During this same period, Free French Forces used a tricolour defaced with a red Cross of Lorraine.



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