Fusillade de Fourmies

The Fusillade de Fourmies is an event which happened on the 1st May 1891 in Fourmies, in the French Nord department. This day, the troop fired on a peaceful demonstration of workers claiming "C'est les huit heures qu'il nous faut !" (it's the eight-hour day we need), killing nine people and injuring 35 others.[1]

Fusillade de Fourmies
Le petit Parisien.JPG
Cover of the Petit Parisien on 17 May 1891
Date1st May 1891
LocationFourmies, Nord, France
ParticipantsFrench citizens


Fourmies was a small town of 2000 people at the beginning of the 19th century, but it had an important industrial growth because of the textile industry.[2] In 1891, it had 37 silk and wool mills, and 15 000 people, in majority factory workers.

In the factories, workers worked for 12 hours a day, and six days a week. Their salaries were particularly low.[3]

Starting in 1885, the textile industry in the Nord began to experience difficulties.[3] These difficulties had direct repercussions on workers, with unemployment and salary reductions when food and lodging expenses were rising.[4]


Call to strikeEdit

The right to strike was allowed in France since The Ollivier law on 25 May 1864,[5] but the Trade unions were allowed only since the Waldeck-Rousseau law on 21 March 1884.[6]


  • André Pierrard, Jean-Louis Chappat, La Fusillade de Fourmies : Premier mai 1891, Maxima, Paris, 1991 ISBN 2-84003-000-4[7]
  • Madeleine Rebérioux, Fourmies et les Premier mai, Fourmies Colloquium 1891/1991 (1991), Éditions de l'Atelier, 1994, ISBN 2-7082-3077-8
  • Odette Hardy-Hémery, L'envers d'une fusillade : Fourmies, 1er mai 1891, L'Harmattan, coll. « Collection Chemins de la mémoire », 2000 ISBN 2738442226
  • Justinien Raymond, Hippolyte Culine, Dictionnaire biographique, mouvement ouvrier, mouvement social, « Le Maitron », 2010.[8]


  1. ^ "1er mai 1891 : la fusillade de Fourmies". histoire-image.org. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
  2. ^ Jean-Claude Daumas (2004). Les Territoires de la laine: Histoire de l’industrie lainière en France au XIXe siècle. Presses Universitaires de France. pp. 157–161. ISBN 9782859398125.
  3. ^ a b Odette Hardy-Hémery (2000). L'envers d'une fusillade : Fourmies, 1er mai 1891. L'Harmattan. ISBN 2738442226.
  4. ^ Madeleine Rebérioux (1994). Fourmies et les Premier mai. L'Harmattan. ISBN 2-7082-3077-8.
  5. ^ "25 mai 1864, vote de la Loi Ollivier, qui ouvre la voie au droit de grève". Europe 1. 2016-05-25. Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  6. ^ Denis Barbet (1991). Retour sur la loi de 1884. La production des frontières du syndical et du politique. Genèses. Sciences sociales et histoire.
  7. ^ La Fusillade de Fourmies : Premier mai 1891. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
  8. ^ "Hippolyte Culine". maitron-en-ligne.univ-paris1.fr. Retrieved 2019-03-24.