French Franc in 1848 = $7.00 today

Centime (1/100 of a franc)


The Industrial Revolution resulted in a high demand for raw materials (cotton, for instance). By 1800, the United States held a virtual monopoly on the world's cotton supply.  Soon European nations began looking for cheaper, closer sources.  North Africa had the ideal climate for growing and manufacturing cotton.  Thus, after 1820 and the introduction of the cotton gin to Alexandria, Egypt began growing cotton for export.  But US cotton output increases rapidly during the first three decades of the 19th century, maintaining its dominance over the world market--controlling nearly 80%.  Between 1832 and 1835, the price of US cotton nearly doubled.  France began looking to Algeria as a possible option to high cotton prices.  After several diplomatic and commercial confrontations, France began colonization/conquering North Africa.  The mid-1830s saw France open up large land tracts to French farmers in response to US prices. A virtual land rush began.  By mid-1840s, much of northern Algeria had been settled by Europeans under French administration.  About 100,000 European lived in northern Algeria (about half were French).  By 1847, France had completed its initial colonization of northern Algeria and the exploitation of Algerian agricultural lands.  France annexed Algeria in 1848, dividing the northern third of the country into the "departments," in essence ending their colonial status and making them part of France.  But local rebels continued to fight French occupation through 1848. The 1840s
also saw European rebellions and riots (see above).  By 1848, French had dumped their government and set up constitutional monarchy Louis-Phillipe. Industrialization brought about changes in printing--making it faster, cheaper, and more efficient.  Industrialization brought about urbanization and revolutionary politics as well as a demand for more printed materials.  Cheaper printing saw a sudden demand for content--any content--even fake content. 
The sudden rise of the middle-class and bourgeoisie, plus cheap printing, led to puffery--faked memoirs, histories, anything really, that would help promote a middle-class person higher in society or political standing (as more people began to enjoy political power).

Croix de Guerre France's medal for heroism and military distinction

Gilt tooling, red morocco binding Gold leaf ornamentation on the cover of a leather-bound book, usually embossed by heated instruments.  Moroccan leather--highly prized imported goatskin used for books.  Especially popular for its suppleness, durability, and ability to highlight gold tooling.

École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr The French equivalent of West Point--the county'spremiere military training institution.  Located 200 miles west of Paris north of Nantes.

Dervishes Members of the Sufi order of Islam, devoted to poverty and austerity.  Perhaps best known for the "whirling dervishes" of Turkey.

Danseuses Female ballet dancers.

Option A financial instrument that allows the purchaser to pay a pre-established price for a stock at some point in the future.  For example, an option might be for 100 shares of a railroad company at $1.00 a share one year from now.  Thus the price of that option would be $100.  If the underlying railroad stock increases in value to $2.00 a share during that year, then a year from now the owner of the option would receive $200 worth of stock--making an instant profit of 100%.

Languedoc One of the prime wine growing regions of France, located in the south along the Mediterranean with Toulouse as its capital.  Along with the famed Côte du Rhône, the
regionproducesone third of all wine grapes in France.

Blue-stocking A literary or scholarly woman of great intellect. A 18th century
reference of the famed "Blue Stocking Society" of London, headed by Elizabeth Montagu.

Oran Port city in northwest Algeria.

Berber A member of the indigenous people of north and northwest Africa (modern Morocco and Algeria).  The term barbarism is a derivative.

Gilt-edged securities Government bonds (or occasionally stocks of highly solid companies) of the highest value and return.

Louis d'or French gold coin in various denominations.  Issued by the crown and made of23 carat
gold, the coins were considered the most secure and valuable form of French specie.

Daguerreotype  The earliest form of photography, developed by Louis Daguerre--theatre designer and scene painter--in the 1830s.

Jumièges  A village NW of Paris in Normandy.

Bailiff An officer of the court, authorized to carry out arrests, serve writs, deliver subpoenas, and seize property.

Marron A glacé Candied chestnut.  A French/Italian confection consisting of a chestnut stewed in a sugar syrup and glazed.  In this instance an insulting pun on Marignan's name.

Place Vendôme A large square in the center of Paris on the Right Bank just north of the Tuileries.  Several blocks northwest of the Louvre.

Joie de Vivre Exuberant love of life.  Carefree.

Kyboshed Put an end to.

Sou A French brass coin worth very little (5-10 centimes)

Atlas Mountains A range that spans northwest Africa crossing from central Morocco in the southwest, traversing Algeria in the north, to Tunisia in the northeast.

Dragoons Mounted regiments on horseback


PARIS: 1848