Champ De Burs. I. The name given to the annual meetings held by the Prankish tribes who took possession of Gaul during the 5th century. They were called in Latin Plactia, while the Frankish appellation was Mals. These meetings were sometimes military reviews, or solemn national assemblies, where all the freemen among the Franks gathered to pay homage to the supreme chief of the nation; sometimes special assemblies of the lords and warriors, called by the king to consult upon some military expedition, or of the bishops, to take their advice upon some point of general policy, or adjust some interior difficulty. Under the first Carlovingians the time of these meetings was changed from March to May, whence they were called Champ de Mai. II. The name of an immense oblong square, situated on the outskirts of Paris, between the ecole militaire and the Seine, and especially devoted to the drilling of troops and military pageants. It is 3,280 ft. long by 1,640 wide, is flanked by ditches faced with stone, has four rows of trees on each side, and is entered by five gates. The first great feast of the French revolution, the fete de la federation, was celebrated here.
On that occasion, the place not being ready, the population of Paris, of both sexes and all ranks, went to work by night and day, and completed it by the day, July 14, 1790. On July 17 of the following year the place was the scene of a great demonstration against the legislative assembly, which ended with a sanguinary dispersion of the crowd by Lafayette; in 1793, of the acceptance of the constitutional act voted by the convention; in 1794, of the feast of the Supreme Being, with Robespierre as its leading performer; in 1796, of the rejoicings on account of the taking of Milan by Bonaparte. On June 1, 1815, Napoleon held here the great assembly, known as the Champ de Mai, for the acceptance of the supplementary act to the imperial constitution. Here in 1827 the review was held in consequence of which the Paris national guards were disbanded by Charles X. The republican feast of agriculture and industry was celebrated here in 1848. Louis Napoleon distributed eagles here to the soldiers May 10, 1852, and made a speech to them which was regarded as a prelude to the formal establishment of the second empire.
Here was held the universal exposition of 1867.