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France Coat of Arms / France Family Crest

France Coat of Arms / France Family Crest

The name FRANCE was originally from the Norman given name FRANC, in origin an ethnic name for a FRANK, a member of the Germanic people who inhabited the lands around the river Rhine in Roman times. In the 6th century, under their leader Clovis I the Franks established themselves a substantial empire in central Europe, which later developed into the so-called Holy Roman Empire. Their most famous ruler was the Emperor Charlemagne (742-814). Only the Frankish race enjoyed the status of being free-men in early times. The name is also spelt FRANCK, FRANCO and FRANKO. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. A notable member of the name was Anatole FRANCE (1844-1924) the French writer, son of a Parisian bookseller. He was appointed keeper at the Senate Library in 1877. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1921. An infamous member of the name was Francisco FRANCO (1892-1975) the Spanish military dictator, born in El Ferrol, Galicia. He commanded the Spanish Foreign Legion in Morocco, became chief of staff in 1935, and in 1936 deemed politically dangerous, and was sent to Govern the Canaries. He was eventually succeeded as Spanish leader by King Juan Carlos.


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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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