What’s cooler than cool? Ever owned a Breton shirt?
The classic striped shirt from Brittany, France is once again being called the must-have item of the spring season.
Long a fashion classic, the breton shirt (marinière) is a cotton long-armed shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes. The international press are all recommending including stripes into our wardrobes as the sunny days arrive.
Here are a few examples of what they are saying:
The Sunday Times 📰 Stripes are the spring style rule
Yahoo! Style 📰 Fashion Experts Are Suddenly Back Into Breton Tops—These 22 Outfits Prove It
The Guardian 📰 Ahoy there! How to wear the new nautical trend
So the fashion world is loving stripes this year, but what is the real history behind the Breton shirt?
The history of the breton shirt
The tale of the Breton begins in 1858, when the French navy adopted a white cotton pullover with horizontal indigo blue stripes as its official uniform. Because of the contrast of the indigo stripes against the white main body of the uniform, as seamen fell overboard, it was easier to spot them. The shirt also had three-quarter length sleeves and a boat neckline — a low cut hem around the neck — so it could be quickly removed and waved around, making the missing sailor easy to find. The Breton originally had twenty-one stripes, a reference to Napoleon's twenty-one naval victories over the English. It was made by independent tailors in Brittany, a cottage industry of sorts. “The body shall have 21 white stripes, each twice as wide as the 20 or 21 navy blue stripes,” according to the Act. A striped cotton shirt is now known as a Breton shirt, regardless of the thickness and number of stripes, as well as the color of the stripes.
Where to find a real breton shirt
Looking to be in-style, then don't just pick up any old stripe shirt. Find a real one that is Made in Brittany. Known for their style and quality these Breizh Amerika selections are some of the best true originals.
Le Minor - Since 1922, Le Minor has been manufacturing clothing in Brittany inspired by the marine life for men, women and children.
Armor Lux - Created in 1938 in Quimper, Armor Lux has become an iconic French fashion brand, famous for the originality of its clothes inspired by the sea, and the commitment to produce the highest quality knits from its factories in the celtic region of Britany, France.
Ready to never go out of style? Wear a breton shirt today. 😎
Joseph-Yves Limantour, San Francisco's richest man?
In the mid-19th century, a Breton captain, Joseph-Yves Limantour, was the owner of more than half of San Francisco and the islands of the Bay. He went on to make his fortune in Mexico, where his son became a minister, after his claim to be one of the world's richest men was overturned by an American court.
We know very few details about the youth of Joseph-Yves Limantour, born in 1812, in Ploemeur, Brittany, France. He was the eldest of a family of six children and his father was a guard in the port of Lorient. At 19, like many inhabitants of the Lorient region he joined the merchant navy.
For 5 years, he sailed in the Atlantic transporting goods and people between Vera Cruz and France. In 1836, after crossing Cape Horn, he continued his shipping activities based in Lima, Peru. As a trader and ship captain, he explored new economic opportunities along the Pacific coasts, from Valparaiso (Chile) to California. On October 26, 1841, his schooner, the Ayacucho, ran aground at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. A dense fog had caused him to miss the famous Golden Gate, at the entrance of the Bay. With his men, he traveled to Sausalito where he chartered a boat to collect his shipwrecked merchandise: silks, spirits, equipment and food that had been destined for settlers. The salvage was a considerable success and he was eventually able to make significant profits from his sales leading him to stay in the Yerba Buena pueblo for a year. At the time California was part of Mexico and in 1842, Limantour loaned money to the Mexican governor, Manuel Micheltorena, who offered land in the area in lieu of payment.
By 1830, American settlers began to arrive in California leading to greater tensions between the United States and Mexico. During the American-Mexican War (1846-1848), Limantour picked sides and offered his services to the Mexican army by delivering arms, ammunition and food. Short of cash, the Mexican governor of California continued to pay debts to Limantour by granting him land titles. In 1847, the American warship Warren boarded his ship, but he dumped his cargo of weapons in the ocean before they were discovered.
California becomes the 31st US state
Between 1840 and 1850, Joseph-Yves Limantour owned more than one million hectares in the San Francisco area, which made him one of the richest men in the world. But picking the right side was important, and Limantour hadn't.
On July 4, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was proclaimed between the USA and Mexico. The treaty called for the United States to pay $15 million dollars to Mexico and to pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to $5 million dollars. It gave the United States the Rio Grande as a boundary for Texas, and gave the U.S. ownership of California and a large area comprising roughly half of New Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to within Mexico's new boundaries or receiving American citizenship with full civil rights (over 90% chose American citizenship). The treaty was also suppose to ensure safety of existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories. Despite assurances to the contrary, the property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the U.S. in accordance with modifications to and interpretations of the Treaty. In 1851, California became the 31st state of the United States of America.
Limantour, one of the richest man in the world?
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, and lasted until 1855. The discovery of gold drew nearly 300,000 people from all over the United States and the world to California. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply re-energized the American economy, and California's rapid ascension to statehood was aided by the sudden rise in population. With the Gold Rush the value of land in California skyrocketed hindering Limantour's land claims that needed to be confirmed in US courts.
On February 5, 1853, Joseph-Yves Limantour presented 57 title deeds (75,000 hectares) to the Land Commission in charge of verifying and confirming the concession titles issued during the Mexican era: 2/3 of the city of San Francisco, the islands of Alcatraz, Yerba Buena and Farrallones, the peninsula of Tiburon, Cape Mendocino, the Laguna de Tache (in Fresno), the county of Solano (between Vallejo and Sacramento) and the Cienega Valley.
To everyone's surprise, in January 1856, the Limantour's title claims relating to the concessions of San Francisco, the islands of Alcatraz and the Farrallones were validated. Panic quickly ensued amongst the population of San Francisco who, since the Gold Rush of 1848, had unwittingly settled on land belonging to the famous Breton merchant.
Hundreds of them decided to buy back their land, helping Limantour accumulate a sizable fortune.
Limantour's victory would only be short lived. The American government had established federal buildings (customs post, military fort, federal bank, etc.) in San Francisco and had no desire to pay Limantour for the land under those new buildings. They requested an appeal to the Land Commission's decision. On November 19, 1858, the Commission reversed its decision of 1856 and declared the Limantour concessions unfounded and that his titles had been fabricated.
If not for his court defeats, Joseph-Yves Limantour would have been the second or third richest man in the world during his lifetime, some American economists have estimated.
He would lick his wounds comfortably in exile in Mexico. He business activities and contacts like the general Porfiro Diaz (President & Dictator of Mexico) helped him amass a sizable fortune. In 1884, he had returned to Brittany, France with his wife, his son José-Yves, his daughter-in-law and her parents. They spent several weeks in the Lorient area, where he reconnected with relatives and the places of his childhood.
He never returned to California but you can still visit where it all started when he shipwrecked. Limantour Beach is a long narrow stretch of sand, backed by low cliffs located between Drakes Bay and an estuary.
Learn more about Breton-American history.
By Paul Molac - Member of the French National Assembly for Morbihan's 4th constituency
The bill relating to the protection of regional languages and their promotion, which I was defending, was definitively adopted by a very large majority this Thursday, April 8 in the National Assembly as part of the parliamentary day reserved for my group, Libertés et Territoires.
This is the first law devoted to regional languages definitively adopted under the Fifth Republic. This historic victory is due to the unprecedented mobilization of associations, educational networks and thousands of volunteers in all our territories who are committed to preserving this wealth which belongs to all of humanity. The determination of the deputies on all benches, and in particular of the majority, to adopt this bill in conformity with the outcome of the Senate is the symbol of the wide awareness of the need to save these regional languages in danger of dying out.
The purpose of this law is to enhance the protection, accessibility and visibility of regional languages in three areas:
First of all in heritage, by recognizing that regional languages belong to France’s intangible heritage in order to be able to better protect them.
Then in public life, by legally securing the display of regional language translations on inscriptions and public signs, as well as the use of diacritics from regional languages in civil status documents. We all remember the story of this Breton baby named Fañch, who had to go to the Court of Cassation to have the right to keep his tildé on the letter N.
Finally, in education, where we have now made significant progress, and in particular for the recognition of teaching by immersion in the regional language in public schools, as well as to make effective the payment of the school fee (forfait scolaire) for students. associative schools such as Diwan. Likewise, this law will make it possible to extend the possibilities for offering regional language education in public schools, so that as many establishments as possible can offer this education.
April 8 is a historic day for advocates of regional languages and I hope a turning point in the relationship between the Republic and its linguistic diversity.
This is a tough time for culture.
Especially those that create, promote, perform and share it.
Even more so for those of endangered traditions and languages.
Since 2015, Breizh Amerika has organized Breton-themed cultural events in over 20 cities in the USA. For many Americans in the audience, it was the first time they experienced Breton music, singing, and dancing. We definitely miss those amazing moments where people could come together, discover something different, and create greater understanding and connections.
At Breizh Amerika when we started thinking about what we should plan next we quickly realized that we wouldn't be able to do anything without the venues that had welcomed us in the past. Those were usually small stages in theaters, lounges, bars, cafes, and restaturants that hosted culture more by conviction than financial gain. And right now those are the ones hurting the most.
So we are doing something about it to help them.
Today we are launching our Breizh Amerika Store.
We'll find a bunch of cool stuff,
and we'll be giving 100% of the proceeds until Fête de la Bretagne (St Yves - May 19th) back to venues that have been helping us promote Breton culture and Breton-American relations for the last 5 years. (Orders possible from Europe & USA)
C'est une période difficile pour la culture.
Surtout pour ceux qui créent, promeuvent, performent et la partagent.
Plus encore pour ceux dont les traditions et les langues sont en danger.
Depuis 2015, Breizh Amerika organise des événements sur la culture bretonne dans plus de 20 villes aux États-Unis. Pour de nombreux américains présents à ces événements, c'était la première fois qu'ils découvraient la musique, le chant et la danse bretonne. Ces moments incroyables où les gens peuvent se réunir, découvrir quelque chose de différent et créer des liens, nous manquent.
Chez Breizh Amerika, lorsque nous avons commencé à réfléchir à ce que nous devrions planifier dans le futur, nous nous sommes rapidement rendus compte que nous ne pourrions rien faire sans les lieux qui nous avaient accueillis dans le passé. C'étaient généralement de petites scènes dans les théâtres, les lounges, les bars, les cafés et les restaurants qui accueillaient la culture plus par conviction que par gain financier. Et en ce moment, ce sont ceux qui souffrent le plus.
Nous faisons donc quelque chose pour les aider.
Aujourd'hui, nous lançons notre Breizh Amerika Store.
Vous y trouverez un tas de trucs cool,
et nous reverserons 100% des bénéfices, jusqu'à la Fête de la Bretagne (St Yves - 19 mai), à des lieux qui nous aident à promouvoir la culture bretonne et les relations bretonnes-américaines depuis 5 ans. (Commandes possibles depuis l'Europe et les USA)
The recently rediscovered Bronze Age slab found in Brittany, France is being called the oldest 3D map of Europe. Researchers from Inrap, the University of Bournemouth, the CNRS and the University of Western Brittany (UBO) have shared findings of the oldest relief map in Europe, dating from the Early Bronze Age (2150-1600 BC). Their research focused on the engraved slab of Saint-Bélec (Leuhan, Finistère).
The approximately 2 m by 1.5 m slab, first discovered in 1900, was found in a cellar of a castle in Brittany, France in 2014. Archaeologists who have studied the patterns carved into the 4,000-year-old stone said they believed the markings were a map of an area in western Brittany. It was first discovered in 1900 during excavations on a prehistoric cemetery in Finistère, in western Brittany, by local archaeologist Paul du Chatellier.
The slab was forgotten for over a century, stored for decades under a ditch at du Chatellier, Kernuz Castle, where researchers looking for the slab found it in a cellar in 2014. After analyzing the markings and engravings on the stone, the researchers suspected that it could be a map. The "presence of repeated patterns connected by lines" on its surface suggested that it represented a region of Finistère, according to a study in the Bulletin of the French Prehistory Society. The researchers said the indentations were a 3D representation of the Odet River valley, while several lines appeared to represent the region's river system. Geolocation revealed that the territory depicted on the slab had 80% accuracy in an area around an 18-mile stretch of the river.
"This is probably the oldest map of a territory that has been identified," Dr Clément Nicolas of Bournemouth University, one of the study's authors, told the BBC.
“There are several such maps set in stone all over the world. Usually these are just interpretations. But this is the first time that a map has shown an area at a specific scale. "
Nicolas said the map may have been used to mark a particular area.
"It was probably a way of asserting ownership of the land by a little prince or king at the time," he said.
“We tend to underestimate the geographic knowledge of past societies. This slab is important because it highlights this cartographic knowledge. "
is an organization established to create, facilitate, promote, and sponsor wide-ranging innovative and collaborative cultural and economic projects that strengthen and foster relations and cooperation between the United States of America and the region of Brittany, France.