History of Flag of France

Tricolore is the national flag of France. It has tri vertical stripes of blue, white and red. History of the flags of France begins with Oriflamme, the flag of Saint Denis, which was red, with two, three, or five spikes. It was a personal flag of Charlemagne and was given to him by the Pope in the 9th century. It became the royal banner under the Carolingians and the Capetians and was used only in war time. French kings led their armies into battle with a Saint Martin's red cape, which was believed that it protects the monarch, or by the flag of Saint Denis. In time colors of oriflamme, together with blue and gold, were started to be connected with royal house of France. During Hundred Years' War, France used white cross on red or blue field for its flag. After that French armies adopted blue field as their flag only to later, French regiments, use white cross with background in the color of their canton. Flag of Joan of Arc, which she flew during the Hundred Years' War was made from white cloth with angels, world and text “JHESUS MARIA” and sprinkled with lilies (fleurs-de-lis: after that a common detail in heraldry of French royalty). Later French flags used white inspired by the flag of Joan of Arc.

France National Flag

The first Tricolore was a “Drapeau Tricolore” Inspired by red, white and blue cockade that was a part of uniform of the National Guard, the national police force that succeeded the militia from 27 July 1789 and used during the French Revolution. The Drapeau Tricolore had three stripes (red, white and blue from left to right) and it was proved on 24 October 1790. It was designed in a simple manner to show breaking from the past. Flag is changed into today’s design (blue - white - red) by a resolution that was passed on 15 February 1794. Though it was an official flag, tricolore was rarely used during revolution. Instead of tricolore, red flag of the Jacobin Club was used. Napoleon restored tricolore during his reign. In 1815, Bourbon dynasty was restored and it changed Tricolore because of its ties to revolution and replaced it with white flag, the pre-revolutionary naval flag. The "citizen-king", Louis-Philippe, restored the Tricolore after the July Revolution of 1830 and it has remained France's national flag from that point on. After the overthrowing of Napoleon III, voters elected a royalist parliament which in turn offered throne to the Henri, comte de Chambord. He insisted that he would take the throne but only if the Tricolore is replaced by white royalist flag. Because Tricolore was much loved symbol this was refused and France has remained a republic with Tricolore as a national flag. During the Vichy régime and World War II, Tricolore remained national flag of France but Chief of the French State Philippe Pétain used Tricolore adding to it fasces and stars as his personal standard. At the same time Free French Forces used a Tricolore with a red Cross of Lorraine which later President Charles de Gaulle used as personal standard.

Blue, white, and red flag - Tricolore, was declared the national emblem of the French Republic in constitutions of 1946 and 1958.