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French Canada before 1763 (Nouvelle France)

Last modified: 2012-08-11 by rob raeside
Keywords: canada | nouvelle france | fleur-de-lis |
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The Royal Banner of France

[contemporary royal banner of France]
by Rick Wyatt

From 1534 to 1763 the royal banner of France was the the most commonly used flag in New France (east and Central Canada) during the French regime. This flag displayed three gold fleur-de-lis on a dark blue field ("Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or, arranged two and one"). French military flags, including the white flag of la marine royale, were also flown in New France.
Peter Cawley, 25 May 1995


French Regiments in Nouvelle France

My source for these images is Le drapeau quebecois [aLq78] by Jacques Archambault, Editeur officiel du Québec, 1974. This is a book on the history of Quebec's flags that is not available anymore, unfortunately.

I will now give the description of the colours of the ordinance flags of the regiments. I will give those that Dominic sent me. They are from Pierre Charrie, Drapeaux et etendars du Roi..

(I would like to point out that the descriptions are very important, because the colours from the illustrations of the 17th-18th centuries have faded - which leaves a certain uncertainty).

Also, it was not specified by anyone, but in my book, the flags are all 1:1, with a centered white 1/5 cross.
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


Carignan-Salieres Regiment

The Carignan-Salieres regiment was first known as Balthazar (1656), then Carignan-Balthazar (1659), then Carignan-Salieres (1665), then Perche (1691).

According to Quebec historians Sulte and Laverdiere, the regiment only had a white flag when it was known as Carrignan-Salieres, but according to Chartrand, it already had the colors that were to be those of Perche.

There were 7 other Regiments that sent 1 battalion each:
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


Bearn

[Bearn Regiment]
by Luc Baronian

Each quarter isabelle, with 2 red stripes.

Isabelle is said to be a brownish yellow in the Larousse dictionary, yellow-horse-colour in Le Robert; it is coloured brown in my books.
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


Berry

[Berry Regiment]
by Luc Baronian

Each quarter violet (purple) with an isabelle band.

Isabelle is said to be a brownish yellow in the Larousse dictionary, yellow-horse-colour in Le Robert ; it is coloured brown in my books; in other book it is orange for Guyenne and yellow for Berry.

The only tough problem remaining is that in my book the stripe on the Berry flag is red, when it's yellow for in other works and... isabelle for Dominic!
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


Guyenne

[Guyenne Regiment]
by Luc Baronian

1, 4 isabelle ; 2, 3 vert-gris (green-grey)
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


Languedoc

[Languedoc Regiment]
by Luc Baronian

1, 4 violet ; 2, 3 feuille morte (dead leaf)

The dead leaf colour can be interpreted in many ways, I guess. It is depicted as yellow in my book, and although some works show a different shade.
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


La Sarre

[La Sarre Regiment]
by Luc Baronian

1, 4 : cramoisi (dark red) ; 2, 3 black
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


La Reine

[La Reine Regiment]
by Luc Baronian

1, 4 vert clair (clear green) ; 2, 3 black with 5 gold lis and a gold crown on each branch and 3 gold lys in the center.

The number of lys in my book on La Reine and R Roussillon doesn't correspond to Dominic's. I used my books' rendition, do you think it was really specified?

I would think that they would just say : with a seme of fleur de lis...
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


Royal Roussillon

[Royal Roussillon Regiment]
by Luc Baronian

1 clear blue 2 red 3 feuille morte 4 clear green with 65 gold lis on the cross.

The number of lys in my book on La Reine and Royal Roussillon doesn't correspond to Dominic's. I used my book's rendition

I would think that they would just say : with a seme of fleur-de-lis...
Luc Baronian, 27 May 1997


In the "Historical Arms series No. 18" (author Réné Chartrand) the illustration of the colors is a "copy from the official pattern book" from the archives Raoul et Jean Brunon, Chateau de l'Empéri, France. Having counted the lis, my total is 45.
Sébastien Boult, 27 April 2001