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Rocroi (Municipality, Ardennes, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-19 by ivan sache
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Flag of Rocroi - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 January 2021

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Presentation of Rocroi

The municipality of Rocroi (2,307 inhabitants in 2018; 5,04 ha) is located on the border with Belgium, 30 km north-west of Charleville-Mézières.

Rocroi was fortified by king of France Francis I; the defenses were increased by Henry II. In the 1670s the fortifications were completed by the French engineer Vauban. The central area is a notable surviving example of a star-shaped fort.
The battle of Rocroi was a major fighting of the Thirty Years' War. It was fought on 19 May 1643 between a French army led by the 21-year-old duke of Enghien and Spanish forces under general Francisco de Melo, only five days after the accession of Louis XIV to the throne of France following his father's death. Rocroi is regarded as the graveyard of the myth of invincibility of the Spanish tercios, the terrifying infantry units that had hitherto dominated European battlefields for 120 years. The battle's aftermath was the end of Spanish military superiority and the beginning of French hegemony in Europe. After Rocroi, the Spanish abandoned the tercio system and adopted the line infantry doctrine, oin the French model.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 January 2021

Flag of Rocroi

The flag of Rocroi (photo, photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms, "Azure three crescents argent interlaced between three fleurs-de-lis or two in chief and one in base" and the name of the municipality below, written as Rocroy (old spelling).

The arms of Rocroi are those of the first lords of the town. Raoul II succeeded Raoul I and went on the 7th Crusade with his brother-in-law Voucher "Saracen". Back home, the lord added to his blue shield three crescents, whose original arrangement in not known. The town was fortified by King Henry II, who might have interlaced the crescents as a reminiscence of the monogram of his mistress, Diane de Poitiers.
On 14 November 1614, Louis XIII acquired most of Rocroi from the Népaux family and added three fleurs-de-lis to the arms of the town.
Banned during the French Revolution, the arms of Rocroi were re-established on 7 March 1827 by Louis XVIII. A mural crown was substituted to the crown of the heirs of France, a yellow circle surmounted by eight fleurs-de-lis.
[Rocroi, mémoire de pierres]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 12 February 2021