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April 25, 2015

April 25, 1792: bon anniversaire, La Marseillaise !

Allons enfants de la patrie ! Le jour de gloire est arrivé …

On this day in 1792, Rouget de Lisle wrote Chant de guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin, now known as La Marseillaise.

TDIH April 25, 2015

As revolution engulfed France, other European monarchs were worried that the idea would spread to their own countries. The French government declared war on the Habsburg Empire on April 20, 1792, as the Austrians had begun to send invading forces.

On April 24, composer Rouget de Lisle was visiting Strasbourg when the mayor asked him to write something to unite the French forces. Overnight, he penned a song dedicated to “the Rhine army,” a reference to the location of recent battles.

Army conscripts in Marseille soon picked up the tune, and adopted it as their own on their march north to Paris. France adopted the song as its national anthem on Bastille Day, July 14, 1795.

Fun(?) fact: also on April 25, 1792, the guillotine was used for the first time (see the Final Jeopardy! in this game).

For more on La Marseillaise, visit

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