French flags, around 1690

Caption: French flags, around 1690

This 17th century illustration shows four French flags that would be seen at sea and on land. At upper left is the solid white flag used by the French crown (and hence by the French army and navy). At upper and lower right are two variations on the blue and white flag that was ordered for the French merchant navy in 1661. The white pennant seen in the lower left was used to help distinguish different squadrons in a French fleet. Each would fly this pennant on a different mast.