Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of centuries of intermittent conflict between the two nations, and the start of the peaceful co-existence that continues to the present day.
The agreement had its roots in a meeting between the French statesman Léon Gambetta and the then Prince of Wales at the Château de Breteuil in March 1881. After becoming King in 1901 Edward VII promoted the idea, and an agreement was negotiated between French foreign minister Theophile Delcassé, and Lord Lansdowne, the British Foreign Secretary.
The agreement that eventually resulted was signed by Lord Lansdowne and Paul Cambon , the French Ambassador, on 8 April 1904. It resolved differences concerning influence and control in various countries including Egypt, Morocco, Madagascar, Siam (Thailand), West and Central Africa, and fishing rights off Newfoundland. The agreement also acknowledged the right of free passage through the Suez Canal.
The year after its signing, Britain's sympathetic attitude toward France's position in Morocco helped to ward off a challenge from Germany to the status quo in the North African kingdom. The agreement also paved the way for the diplomatic and military cooperation that preceded World War I.
It is particularly respected at both ends of Channel Tunnel; in both London Waterloo International and Paris Gare du Nord, the flags of the United Kingdom and of France are depicted connected with the words 'Entente Cordiale' superimposed on posters.
One hundredth aniversary
The hundredth aniversary of the Entente Cordiale in 2004 was marked by a number of official and unofficial events, including a state visit to France by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, and a return visit by President Chirac in November. British troops (the band of the Royal Marines, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Grenadier Guards and King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery) also lead the Bastille Day parade in Paris for the first time, with the Red Arrows flying overhead.
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