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Territoire de Belfort (Department, France)

Last modified: 2022-07-07 by ivan sache
Keywords: territoire de belfort |
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Flag of Territoire de Belfort - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 18 May 2019

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Administrative data

Code: 90
Region: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (Franche-Comté until 2014)
Traditional province: Alsace
Bordering departments: Doubs, Jura, Haut-Rhin, Haute-Saône, Vosges
Bordering country: Switzerland (Canton of Jura)

Area: 609 km2
Population (2017): 142,622 inhabitants

Préfecture: Belfort
Subdivisions: 1 arrondissement, 9 cantons, 102 municipalities.

Territoire de Belfort is made of the part of the department of Haut-Rhin that remained French after the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany in 1871, as a reward to the heroic resistance (103 days) of the town's defenders commanded by colonel Denfert-Rochereau. The area had the status of "special territory" until eventually granted the status of department in 1922.

Ivan Sache, 14 November 2009

Flag of Territoire de Belfort

The flag of Territoire de Belfort (photo) is white with the department's logo. In 2015, General Councils were renamed to Departmental Councils. Accordingly the words "Conseil général" were replaced by the words "Le Département”.

Olivier Touzeau, 18 May 2019

Flag of the former General Council


Flag of the former General Council of Territoire de Belfort - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 October 2009

The flag of the former General Council of Territory of Belfort was white with the Council's logo.
The logo, adopte on 15 November 2005, is made of a stylized lion with a carmine mane and an olive yellow face, flanked on its right by the writing "Territoire de Belfort" (carmine) / "Conseil général" (olive yellow), in italics. The "C" of "Conseil" is made of the mouth of the lion.

The lion represents the Lion of Belfort, designed by the sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904), mostly famous for the design of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
To celebrate the heroic defenders of the town during the siege by the Prussians (3 November 1870 - 18 February 1871), the municipality of Belfort commissioned Bartholdi, who proposed to append a huge lion to the wall of the citadel dominating the town. The rumor spread quickly to the town, so that the lion became the emblem of the town even before having been sculpted. Poems and songs were dedicated to the lion, and a national, patriotic fund created to pay the sculpture was equally successful with the Republicans and the Monarchists.

Recent research by the Curator of the Bartholdi Museum in Colmar has shown that the lion was not created from scratch; Bartholdi indeed reused elements of a project of monument to Marshal Moncey, one of the defenders of Paris in 1814. From the project that aborted in 1864, Bartholdi reused a scale model featuring a roaring lion raising a forepaw. Progressively, Bartholdi "tamed" the lion, portrayed as "driven back but terrible in its furor", but much less aggressive than in the early sketches.
Bartholdi studied lions at the Jardin des Plantes of Paris; an unsubtantiated tradition claims that his preferred model was the famous Brutus owned by the lion tamer Baptiste Pezon. In September 1875, the sculptor achieved the scale drawings of what he called his "baby" or his "monster". The erection of the lion started in spring 1876.

Achieved in summer 1880, the statue was never officially inaugurated; the French government pressured the municipality of Belfort to cancel any official ceremony that could be perceived as a provocation and a call to revenge by the Germans. Bartholdi inaugurated himself his monument with bonfires. Three weeks later, the bronze replica of the statue, in reduced size, placed on Place Denfert-Rochereau (named for the Colonel who commanded the defenders of Belfort), was inaugurated with a small bonfire and a silent military parade.
As stated by the sculptor in a letter to his mother, dated 3 September 1875, Bartholdi did not want his lion to be "annexated" by the partisans of the revenge against Germany. However, Place Denfert- Rochereau was in the 1880-1890s a main place of rallying for the French nationalists.
[Bartholdi, cet inconnu célèbre by Robert Belot, Université de technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard]

The colors are prescribed as (Graphic Charter):

             Red                Beige
Pantone      200c                465c
CMYK      20 100 70 0          30 30 60 20
Web        A9 1E 3E            9F 92 68
RAL     3002 Carmine red   1020 Olive yellow

Ivan Sache, 18 May 2019

Former flag of the General Council


Former flag of the General Council of Territoire de Belfort - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 18 May 2019

The former flag of the General Council was white with the Council's former logo.

Olivier Touzeau, 18 May 2019