ARMS OF THE CITY OF CALAIS
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.
THE CALAIS FLAG
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
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
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
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.
BIRTH OF CALAIS
Calais owes the important role that it played in history to its
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.
THE INVASION OF GAUL
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.
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.
THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS.
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
wikipedia.fr FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD
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
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.
THE RETAKING OF CALAIS BY THE DUC DE GUISE
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 OCCUPATION 1596-1598
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.
CALAIS AND THE 18th CENTURY
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.
CALAIS UNDER THE REVOLUTION AND THE EMPIRE
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.
wkipedia.fr THE RESTORATION
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
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
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.
wikipedia.fr THE FRANCO PRUSSIAN WAR
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
The Second World war (1939-1945) against Nazi Germany.
During the Franco Prussian War the Calais
was saved from invasion.
THE TOWN HALL
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.
THE FIRST WORLD WAR
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.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
After the Second World War
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.
Calais Yellow Pages
Type from the services list into "quoi, qui" and click "Trouver".