Foreign Legion, French volunteer armed force composed chiefly, in its enlisted ranks, of foreigners. Its international character and the tradition of not revealing enlistees' backgrounds have helped to surround the Foreign Legion with an aura of mystery and romance. Although foreigners had served in French armies previously, King Louis Philippe created (1831) this specific foreign legion. Originally intended to pacify Algeria, the legion also was active in the pacification of Morocco and fought in other areas of the French colonial empire and in both world wars. It was later active in the French campaigns in Indochina and Algeria. One regiment of the legion supported Algerian insurgency against the French government (1961) and was rapidly disbanded. The legion was normally stationed in Algeria until 1962, when its headquarters were transferred to S France, near Marseilles. The army's regiments were scattered throughout the world. There have been many other foreign legions; e.g., a British legion participated in the Carlist Wars in Spain, and in the Spanish civil war (1936–39) the International Brigade fought on the Loyalist side.
See T. Geraghty, March or Die: A New History of the French Foreign Legion (1987); J. R. Young, The French Foreign Legion (2d ed. 1988); D. Porch, The French Foreign Legion (1991); A. D. Gilbert, Voices of the Foreign Legion (2010).
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Foreign Legion. Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.