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This month in history: Peace talks, people’s Louvre, mademoiselle ends

We pick three key events of French history that happened in February 10, 50 and 100 years ago

USS Arkansas in 1918 Pic: Everett Collection / Shutterstock

February, 2012

Mademoiselle phased out 

The term mademoiselle was phased out of official documents on February 22 following a campaign by feminist organisations.

Until then, women in France had to identify themselves either as madame (married) or mademoiselle (unmarried).

On withdrawing mademoiselle, the government said the title was an “unjustified and unnecessary reference to women’s marital status”. Groups including Osez le féminisme and Les Chiennes de garde had long been campaigning for the dismantling of this system, which they described as being discriminatory.

Since this date, mademoiselle has indeed disappeared from all official forms and documentation, and is rarely used in spoken French.

February, 1972

‘Louvre du Peuple’ opens 

It was in this month that the Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires (MNATP) opened in the Jardin d’Acclimatation of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.

Initially founded as part of the Palais du Trocadéro by museum expert Georges Henri Rivière in 1937, the MNATP offered a glimpse of traditional life in rural France, spanning the 19th century to the 1960s. It gave popular art forms and traditions scientific weight, and collected significant cultural objects.

The MNATP became a museum in its own right in 1972, known as the Louvre du peuple (Louvre of the people). It closed in 2005, with its collections transferred to Marseille’s Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée.

February, 1922

Five-Power Treaty signed

February 6 saw the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, which agreed to prevent future arms races by limiting naval construction.

The treaty was signed by the US, the UK, Japan, France and Italy – the major Allies of World War One – who agreed to cap their battleship, battlecruiser and aircraft carrier construction.

Limits established by the treaty were later extended by the London Naval Treaty of 1930, and it was not until the middle of the decade that the participating powers began to build battleships once again.

Related stories: 

Dans le passé: 10, 50 and 100 years ago this month in France

10, 50 and 100 years ago in France – March 2020

See Nice from the air – 409 years ago

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