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Montargis (Municipality, Loiret, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: montargis |
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Banner of arms of Montargis - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 December 2020

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Presentation of Montargis

The municipality of Montargis (56,233 inhabitants in 2017; 466 ha; municipal website) is located 70 km east of Orléans.

Montargis was the site of a wooden tower, of which nothing remains, erected at the end of the 5th century, by Clovis, king of the Franks. In the 12th century, Peter of France, a son of King Louis VI the Fat, married Elisabeth, the daughter of Count Renaud of Courtenay, and obtained the domain of Montargis, which was ceded to the king of France in 1188. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Montargis was a royal residence. In the 14th century, under the reign of Charles V, the castle became a real fortress protected by twenty towers, with a huge keep and a large courtyard, itself flanked by four towers and bearing one of the rare clocks existing at the time.

In 1427, during the Hundred Years' War, the Earl of Warwick besieged the town with artillery, beginning bombardment on 15 July. The inhabitants of Montargis sabotaged the dikes of numerous ponds in the district, flooding and drowning many of the besiegers. On 5 September, the siege was broken by 1,600 men commanded by John of Dunois and La Hire, who subsequently lef Joan of Arc's army. This was the first significant victory cmaimed by Chalres VII's army. After having been wounded in an unsuccessful attempt to besiege Paris in September 1429, Joan of Arc passed through Montargis on her way to Gien.
After the war, Charles VII rewarded the town's bravery with various privileges. In 1490, Charles VIII officially declared the town Montargis le Franc (Free Montargis), a title abbreviated as "MLF" in the coat of arms. The privilege was renewed by his successors, so that Montargis remained free of tax for the next three centuries; the privilege was eventually revoked during the French Revolution.

In 1528, King Francis I granted the town to his sister-in-law, Renée of France, daughter of Louis XII and Ann of Brittany, and Duchess of Ferrara. After the death of her husband, Ercole II, in 1559, the duchess resided at Montargis. During the Wars of Religion, she protected in Montargis Huguenots fleeing from persecutions; she hired Jacques Androuet du Cerceau to design a crown-shaped garden around the castle.
Returned to the crown, the castle was offerred by Louis XIII to his brother Gaston; Louis XIV subsequently offerred the castle to his brother Philippe ,who embellished and furnished it on the model of the castle of Saint-Cloud. In 1785, Louis Philippe I of Orléans and his son Louis-Philippe II set up two cotton mills in the castle. Acquired in 1791 by Admiral de La Touche-Tréville, the castle was sold in 1809. By 1845 there was almost nothing left from it. The remains were acquired in 1898 by Madame de Cintré, who turned it into a high school.

Pralines, a crunchy confection made from almonds in cooked sugar, were first confected in Montargis in the time of Louis XIII. The original shop is still in business on Place Mirabeau.
In the 1880s, a rubber factory was built in the Châlette district. It today employs 2,000 workers to produce tires and parts for vehicles and appliances.
In the 1920s, on the initiative of Li Shizeng, founder of the Work-Study Movement, 4,000 young intellectuals from China came to France and a large Chinese community lived in Montargis from 1912 until the 1930s; Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai spent part of their youth there, as well as others less well known dignitaries, including Li Weihan, Vice-President of the Senate, Li Fuchun, Vice-Prime Minister, and Chen Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1958 to 1972. Most of them worked at the Hutchinson rubber products factory in Châlette; it has been reported that 16 year-old Teng Hihien (Deng Xiaoping), was dismissed from the Hutchinson factory because of his strong personality.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 December 2020

Banner of arms of Montargis

A square banner of the municipal arms (photo, photo, photo) can be spotted in front of the castle.
The arms of Montargis, "Azure a capital letter M surmonted by a royal crown &rgent, cantonned by three fleurs-de-lis or the one in the base flanked by the capital letters L and F argent a bordure of the same", are shown with all charges or in the armorial (La description des villes et villages de France) redacted in 1699 by Father Pierre de La Planche, priest and librarian at the Paris Oratoire (image). The letters stand for Montargis le Franc, recallling the franchises granted by Charles VII to the town. The <Armorial Général shows the arms with all charges or, a semy of fleurs-de-lis, and crowned letter "M" only, "L" and "F" being omitted (image).

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 4 December 2020

Other flags hoisted at the castle of Montargis

Another three flags can be spotted in front of the castle (photo):
- The Royal banner of France (France ancient)


Banner of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 December 2020

- The banner of arms of the Earl of Warwick, "Quarterly, 1. and 4. Gules a fess or six c six crosses crosslet or in base six crosses crosslets or in base, 2. and 3. Checky azure and or a chevron ermine".
The 1st and 4th quarters show the arms of Beauchamp, while the second and third quarters show the arms of "Thomas, Earl of Warwick" as blazoned in several 13th-century rolls of arms, including Collins' Roll, Glover's Roll, and Walford's Roll; these arms are generally referred to as "Newburgh", being the alternative name of the early Beaumont family.

At the end of May 1427, the English planned to seize Vendôme and Montargis to advance to the Loire while avoiding strongly fortified Orléa,ns. Regent Bedfort entrusted the operations to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick and Aumale, and to William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk and Dreux. The English troops and French allies (the provost of Paris, Simon Morhier) were reviewed on 15 August 15 and 1 September 1427.
The garrison of the castle of Montargis was commanded by Bouzon de Fages or de Failles, Bailiff of Montargis. Charles VII, whose troops were stationned in Jargeau, ordered the resupplying of Montargis because food was lacking while resistance was still strong. His troops were in Jargeau. La Hire and John of Orléans, Count of Dunois (known as the Bastard of Orléans) were tasked with creating diversion aided by the intrepid "little Breton" messenger who knew how to slip through enemy lines. La Hire led the assault with the cry of "Saint Denis". A very daring feat of arms, the operation began on 5 September at noon and ended overnight with the left of the siege. Robin de la Saussaye swiftly rode to Orléans to announce the good news; a procession was organized on 7 September 7 in the town to celebrate the victory.
The tradition reports that a young fellow seized Warwick's banner banner. It must have been Poton de Xaintrailles, who most often fought alongside La Hire. Poton left his name to a place called La Pothonnerie and married a woman of Montargis.
King Charles VII rewarded the "brave" inhabitants of Montargis by granting by Letters Petented a series of charters recorded in the chamber of accounts between 1430 and 1431. These privileges exempted Montargis in perpetuity from manys taxes and tolls, except the tax on the salt.
[Castle of Montargis Facebook account]


Banner of Sultan Muhammad al-Mustansir - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 December 2020

- The (reconstructed banner) of Muhammad al-Mustansir (photo, yellow with a golden crescent and star.

Muhammad I al-Mustansir (Abu Abd Allah Muhammad al-Mustansir ibn Yahya; 1220-1277) was the second ruler of the Hafsid dynasty in Ifriqiya and the first to claim the title of Khalif.
On 13 July 1270, when the crsuaders' fleet made a stop at Cagliari in Sardinia, Louis IX announced that the first objective of the crusade would be Tunis. Louis IX mostly expected to obtain from the Sultan of Tunis, Muhammad al-Mustansir, that the gold supply from Mali, despite the roads becoming less secure, would be assured so as not to undermine the stability of the monetary system of France, which served a large part of Europe.
Louis IX died in Carthage on August 25, 1270 of dysentery and typhus, like his young son Jean-Tristan a few days earlier. The sultan made his means available so that the two bodies could be transported and repatriated. On 25 August 1271, the bones of Louis IX, in part, were buried in Saint-Denis. This is the reason why the sultan's flag flies at the castle of Montargis on 25 August in memory of the sultan and of the king who stayed many times at the castle.
[Castle of Montargis Facebook account]

Olivier Touzeau, 4 December 2020

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