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Rebellion of 1837-39 in Canada (lower Canada)

Last modified: 2012-08-09 by phil nelson
Keywords: quebec | canada | rebellion |
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Flags used in 1837-39 in Lower Canada (Québec)

[Parti Patriote] image by Luc-Vartan Baronian

This flag (without star) was used during the Rebellion led by Louis-Joseph Papineau in 1837-1838 to establish a republic in the by-then Lower Canada, which corresponds to the Province of Quebec now.
Michel Simard, 30 September 1998


I was under the impression, though, that the French of Lower Canada used a horizontal tricoleur of green-white-red with a yellow star in the upper hoist on the green stripe in the early 1800s, and that the Parti Patriote simply adopted it without changes. The flag you describe has two stars in the central (white) stripe. I was obviously mistaken about the first, but do you know the date that the Parti Patriote adopted their flag in the one-star form?
Steve Kramer, 12 October 1998


They never did ; this is an innovation of the 1960s by some Quebecois nationalists and still used today. The ones with two and later three stars (the third for Halifax) were used during battle, so in 1837-1838. The plain tricolor was first cited in 1832.
Luc Baronian, 12 October 1998


[Parti Patriote] image by Jaume Ollé

[Parti Patriote] image by Jaume Ollé

[Parti Patriote] image by Jaume Ollé

[Parti Patriote] image by Jaume Ollé

[Parti Patriote] image by Jaume Ollé

[Parti Patriote] image by Jaume Ollé

[Parti Patriote] image by Jaume Ollé

These flags were displayed at an assembly on June 1, 1837. They were designed by François Beaudoin according to descriptions. The colours are unknown; Jaume imagined them (except for the 3 traditional colours of green-white-red, of course).

The penultimate one was displayed on June 1 with the other ones. The last one is the flag that the Patriotes used at the Battle of Saint-Eustache in 1837 (or 38 ?). The original is exposed at the Musée du Chateau Ramezay in Montreal
Luc-Vartan Baronian, 19 March 1997


Second Declaration of independence - November 1838

[Independence of Lower Canada (1838)] image by Luc Baronian

This is a flag described in J-P Bernard, Rebellion de 1837-1838, p. 128.

This flag was flown in November 1838 in Napierville during Robert Nelson second declaration of independence of Lower Canada of which he was declared President. The description only says "a big white flag with three stars".

Starred flags seemed quite popular at the time in Canada, I have posted at least three other Lower Canadian starred flags that I remember and are still on my pages.

One last flag that I wanted to mention was a flag cited in a letter by Chevalier de Lorimier on the eve of his execution at the Montreal Prison :

Le sang et les larmes versées sur l'autel de la liberté arrosent aujourd'hui les racines de l'arbre qui fera flotter le drapeau marqué des deux étoiles des Canadas.

(The blood and tears shed for liberty waters today the roots of the tree that shall hoist the flag marked with the two stars of the Canadas)

Ref.: Chevalier de Lorimier, Lettres d'un patriote condamné à mort, Montreal: Comeau & Nadeau, 1997.

According to the editor, those stars are blue. I wrote him a letter, asking him his source and am still waiting for a response.

This is probably not the flag of the Upper Canada reformists, unless someone can confirm that their two stars were for the two colonies of Upper and Lower Canada... (?)
Luc Baronian, 3 July 1997


To the depictions of flags of the 1830s rebellion in Quebec, commonly depicted were the images of five minutemen, holding rifles across their right shoulder, facing outward on the white stripe. The figures are depicted in sketchy black against the white. One could note that this flag has been adopted by ultra-nationalist Raymond Villeneuve and his group of sovereignists as their emblem.
Brian Fitzgerald,. 8 March 1999