Cross of Lorraine (Coming Soon)
Consisting of one vertical and two horizontal bars, the Cross of Lorraine came from the Kingdom of Hungary to the Duchy of Lorraine, in present day France. The Duke of Lorraine, René II, inherited this cross from distant relatives in the Hungarian House of Anjou, who themselves inherited the cross from Hungary's first ruling Dynasty, the House of Árpád. Árpád's first ruling monarch Belá III of Hungary, used the cross as the symbol of royal power in the late 12th century. In Lorraine, the grandfather of René II, René the Good, used the cross as his personal seal and laid claim to four kingdoms during his rule, including Hungary.
The cross found its first notable story in French military history by being placed on the flag of René II's armies at the Battle of Nancy in January of 1477. René's defeat of Charles II of Burgundy ended Burgundian state and allowed René to Regain control of Lorraine. In the centuries that followed, the symbol followed French Jesuit missionaries to the new world. It is said that the symbol helped French missionaries convert native peoples to Christianity with ease due to the cross resembling local existing imagery.
In the later part of the 19th century, the Cross started to become a symbol of French national unity, as Northern French provinces, including Lorraine, were annexed by Germany following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. From the defeat in 1871 to Germany's defeat in 1918 in the First World War, the Cross served as symbol for French Patriotism, and national ambitions to recover its northern provinces from Germany. The cross became a rallying banner for the French again in 1940, following the Nazi invasion of France and subsequent occupation. Free French forces, led by Charles de Gaulle, displayed the cross on their warships, airplanes and various other military equipment in the fight against the Nazis and Vichy French forces. The cross became the symbol for the fight against nazism and for the liberation of France, which was achieved in 1944. The cross was displayed on the Order of Liberation Medal, awarded to individuals who committed heroic acts in the fight for French liberation. Charles de Gaulle himself is commemorated in his home village with a 141 feet tall Cross of Lorraine.
Today, the Cross remains a symbol of French Patriotism, and has many other appearances in European heraldry, notably in Hungary, Slovakia and Lithuania. But to this day, it remains most famous for its use in the Second World War by Free French forces, and is found on multiple memorials around France and on Commemorative coins honoring French resistance and sacrifices made during the Nazi occupation.
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- Release: TBD