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Granted in 1558 by Henry 2 on the regain of Calais by France, the arms were confirmed by letters of Louis 18, on April 19th, 1817. The plate with the arms of Jerusalem recalls Godefroy de Bouillon, count of Boulogne, to which Calais belonged. The crosses of Lorraine recall the capture of the town from the English by the duc de Guise in 1558 and the crescent and the fleur-de-lys recall Henri II under whose reign it occurred. The French Heraldry Page.

Calais is one of only 5 cities of France to be allowed to have its own flag by royal decree, with Dunkirk, Boulogne, Le Havre and Saint Malo.
The Calais flag is the one that floated on the former belfry, at the head of the burgher militia and on the mastheads of the privateer vessels of the City.

The main points of Calais history:
1181 - Gérard of Gueldre the count of Boulogne created a municipality.
1189 - Richard the Lion Heart, disembarked at Calais on December 11.
1224 - Philippe Hurepel, count of Boulogne, fortified Calais.
1265 - Calais became part of the domain of the counts of Artois.
1304 - The Calais seamen fought under the orders of admiral Grimaldi against the Flemish.
1346 - The Siege of Calais by Edward III and the sacrifice by the Six Burghers.
1520 - The field of the cloth of gold, the meeting between François I and Henry VIII.
1558 - Retaking of Calais by the French army, ordered by duke François de Guise.
1596 - Occupation of Calais by the Spanish.
1814 - April 24, Louis XVIII disembarked at Calais after Napoleon's abdication.
1815 - The first professions of lace making were imported to Calais.
1842 - Completion of the works of modernization of the harbour.
1875 - First crossing of the strait of Pas-de-Calais by swimming by captain Webb.
1889 - The Inauguration of the new harbour.
1909 - The first crossing by plane of the strait by Louis Blériot.
1921 - Marriage of captain Charles de Gaulle and Yvonne Vendroux in Notre-Dame.
1940 - Bombardments destroyed the old city.
1944 - Calais is liberated September 30.
1962 - Creation of the district of Calais.

Calais owes the important role that it played in history to its geographical position.
Worked and polished flints in primeval tombs found on the heights of the Calais show that this part of the continent was lived in since prehistoric times. The origin of the name Calais is obscure. The likeliest version, because Calais is called "Caletum" on a former map, is that the "Calèteses" or "Cauchoiss" came, according to Caesar's commentaries, to help the Morins to oppose the Roman invasion, they established themselves on this little populated point and founded a colony to which they gave their name; this changed gradually to become Calais.

Calais is where Julius Caesar gathered a fleet of 800 to 1000 sailing vessels that, with 5 legions and 2000 horses, launched the conquest of England.
Long time simple village of fishermen, Calais was only organised in 997 by the count of Flanders. He understood the importance of the harbour. He surrounded it with defensive walls flanked by towers, and made large outside ditches.
Around 1181, Gérard of Gueldre, count of Boulogne, bestowed on “his good people of Calais" a charter granting them municipality under the feudal control of the counts of Flanders Boulogne and Artois, the harbour improved and sheltered a nest of corsairs hunting the English boats that adventured into its waters.
Richard The Lion Heart landed at Calais in 1189 on his way to the Crusades. At that time the town was part of the country of Boulogne. It was fortified by the Count of Boulogne in 1224.
Although only speaking French and spending very little time in England (he lived in his Duchy of Aquitaine, in the southwest of France, preferring to use his kingdom as a source of revenue to support his armies), he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects. He remains one of the very few Kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring, iconic figure in England.

After the English victory at Crecy, near Abbeville, in September 1346, Edward III laid siege to Calais. The siege was long and harsh and when it was in its 11th month the starving Calais people decided they could take no more. The Governor, Jean de Vienne, sent a message to the English king saying he would surrender if everyone in the town, soldiers and citizens alike, were given a pardon.

In 1520 Henry VIII of England sailed from Dover to Calais at the invitation of François I of France,  who hoped they could make an alliance against the Spanish.
Henry stayed in Guines, a border town of English Calais, François I stayed in French Ardres. Lavish tents were set up in a field in the middle, the celebrated "Field of the Cloth of Gold". Here they met and had expensive festivals for several days near the village of Guines. But negotiations were fruitless and they never became allies.

Anne Bolyen became pregnant with Elizabeth I when on a trip to Calais with Henry VIII in December of 1532.

Calais was in English hands until 1558 when Francois De Guise regained it. This was a mortal blow to Mary Tudor who said the famous words "If my heart was opened the name of Calais would be found written on it".

The Spanish Armada anchored off-shore overnight at Calais in 1588, on their way to invade England. English ships had fought skirmishes all the way up the Channel, and here they took the opportunity to prepare fire-ships and set them ablaze to drift into the middle of the Spanish fleet.
After the panic caused by the fire-ships and a fierce battle, the Spanish fleet hastily set sail on a disastrous journey up the east coast of England. As they went round the north of Scotland and Ireland in terrible gales most of their galleons were sunk.
In less a half century, Calais accumulated immense riches that tempted the Spanish Archduke Albert, the prince seized Calais by surprise in 1596. Subject then to the Spanish during 2 years, Calais didn't become French again until 2 years later at the treaty of Vervins.

At the beginning of the 18th century the English fleet continued to be at large, menacing Calais. The situation became so critical that Vauban in 1706 considered flooding the whole area to save it from invasion, Fort Nieulay was modified to this effect. To add to the misfortune the Dutch joined the English, this meant that the Calais people had to come to terms with their enemies, paying the Dutch a safeguard of 40.000 ecus.

The French revolution did not disturb the City of Calais, always occupied with the war with England. In 1805 Napoléon the 1st made Camp at Boulogne for important preparations in order to invade England and solve the English problem. 6000 men were prepared. The enterprise was not well run and Napoléon enacted in 1807 the Continental Blockade to ruin England.

On April 24 1814 the king of France Louis 18 left exile and came to Calais to take possession of his throne. The restoration was for Calais a period of prosperity.

In 1816 looms for lace making were smuggled into Calais
from Nottingham. Until then the English exacted the death penalty on anyone exporting the means of production of lace. Calais is now known to produce the finest lace in the world.

The Watch Tower next to the square used by Calais market was occupied by watchers until 1905 and was used as a lighthouse between 1818 and 1849.

In the course of history, there were 3 wars during which France and Germany confronted each other:
The Franco Prussian War of 1870 which brought about the creation of Germany.
The First World war (1914-1918) during which both countries were the main protagonists.
The Second World war (1939-1945) against Nazi Germany.
During the Franco Prussian War the Calais was saved from invasion.

The town hall was built between 1911 and 1925 in the neo-flemish style of the 15th century. It has a 75 metre belfry which can be seen for kilometres.

  wikipedia.fr THE FIRST WORLD WAR
The First World War 1914-1918 "The war to end all wars" ended in an armistice, but led eventually to the Second World War, Calais was still intact.

After the Second World War
1939-1944, an impetus grew in western Europe for institutional forms of cooperation between states, driven by the determination to rebuild Europe and eliminate the possibility of another World War, Calais was in ruins.

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