Jul 14

Bastille Day

Auld Alliance
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The Auld Alliance
Scottish Diaspora Tapestry
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"In every combat where for five centuries the destiny of France was at stake, there were always men of Scotland to fight side by side with men of France, and what Frenchmen feel is that no people has ever been more generous than yours with its friendship."

~ Charles De Gaulle, 1942

Happy July 14th! The French National Day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution. The Auld Alliance (Scots for "Old Alliance"; French: Vieille Alliance; Scottish Gaelic: An Seann-chaidreachas was an alliance made in 1295 between the kingdoms of Scotland and France for the purpose of controlling England's numerous invasions. Although the alliance is said to have formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560, British historian Siobhan Talbott, after extensive research, concluded that the Auld Alliance had never been formally revoked and that it endured and thrived long after the Acts of Union in 1707 and the Entente Cordiale of 1906! 🇫🇷🎆 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

The Auld Alliance (Vieille Alliance in French) was the alliance between the kingdoms of Scotland and France before the Union of Crowns, when the Scottish monarch James VI acceded to the throne of England (as James I).


The alliance played a significant role in the relations between Scotland, France and England from its beginning in 1295 to the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh. The alliance was renewed by all the French and Scottish monarchs of that period except by Louis XI.  By the late 14th century, the renewal occurred regardless of whether either kingdom was involved in a conflict with England.


This tartan was commissioned by Mme Olga Poivre d'Arvor, the Director of the French Institute in Scotland to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Institute. 


The alliance extended into the lives of the Scottish population in a number of ways, affecting architecture, law, the Scots language and cuisine, among other things. Scottish soldiers served within the French army; there were reciprocal dual nationality agreements; and France granted privileges to Scottish vintners. Many Scots studied at French universities, something which continued up until the Napoleonic Wars.  David de Moravia, Bishop of Moray, helped found the Scots College of the University of Paris and among those who studied or taught at French Universities were: the poets John Barbour and George Buchanan; the historian Hector Boece; the founder of St Andrews University, Henry Wardlaw; the founder of Aberdeen University, William Elphinstone; the founder of the Advocates Library, George Mackenzie, and the noted translator of Rabelais, Sir Thomas Urquhart. Scottish castles built with French construction in mind include Bothwell and Kildrummy.


For a beautiful collection of multiple tapestry panels celebrating the French connection, click the "Auld Alliance" panel from the marvelous Scottish Diaspora Tapestry project. 

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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