I recently wrote an article doing the inventory of resources one can find about this very special weaponized architecture that constitutes the barricade; that was before I read the book The Insurgent Barricade (University of California Press, 2010.) written by Professor Mark Traugott as a series of (chronological) essays around this notion. M.Traugott, in an obsessive will for historians to determine an invention date for each technology, – as he recognizes it – considers that the Parisian revolt against the King Henri III in 1588 can be consider as such for the barricade. The word comes in fact from the old French word barrique (barrel in English) which depicts the original element – one might actually say that it was the chain – composing those defensive street obstacles.
As I wrote in the previous article, the 19th century will be the era during which barricades will be the most regularly and efficiently used by insurgents. In this regard M.Traugott’s book dedicates an important part to the various European insurrections in 1848 started by what could be called the third French Revolution: Munich, Vienna, Naples, Prague etc. followed indeed the insurgent movement by using barricades as well. One can also look at the various maps of the book including the one below that illustrate the incredible proliferation of barricades during the two revolutions of 1830 and 1848 in the narrow streets of the center of Paris. This map expresses well the locality of such architecture that was mostly built-up and defended by people living around it, thus creating a new form of social space shared and negotiated by its participants.
The book also include a very useful chapter ‘The Function of the Barricade’ that allies recurrent functions with more anecdotal ones like the brief invention of mobile counter-barricades by the suppressive power in 1848 for example (see image above).