Flag history

Flag history

The French flag it one of the world’s oldest flags. Find out everything you want to know about the history of French flag from the very beginning till nowadays.

National Flag of France has deep and exciting history.

French Revolution

It was the French Revolution that was responsible for bringing the National flag into existence. Until the Revolution in 1789, France was a monarchy. During the revolution, the Tricolore was used. Since the Revolution turned France from a monarchy to a republic, the Tricolore is recognized as a symbol of freedom and liberty around the world.

One of the world’s oldest flags

The French flag was adopted in May 1794, what is making it one of the world’s oldest flags. It was created in 1790, but with the colors reversed to how they appear on the flag today.  Prior to the French Revolution, France had traditionally been represented by the plain white flag – a sign of purity and strength.

Meaning of the flag colors

Associated with Revolutionary and later Imperial France. The three colours in vertical stripes were first used as a canton on Naval flags in 1790, and extended to the whole field in 1794. One of the flags in the naval signaling alphabet is still a red-white-blue vertically striped flag – i.e. like the modern French flag, but with the colours reversed.

After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo the French flag was put out of use, however it was reintroduced in 1830 and has remained in its present form ever since. The French tricolor has provided a model for the flags of other Republics – for example Italy and Ireland among many others. But it is not restricted to republics. Belgium for example, being a monarchy, uses a tricolor.


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