Most people do not realize that the Croissant is Austrian, not French. It was made in the shape of a crescent to celebrate the Austrian victory over the Turks. The Turks, being Muslims, had the crescent, or “croissant”, on their flag. The bread was made as a mockery of them.
History majors might know that the Muslims came close to conquering the world. They took over part of India, moved and took over the Middle East, then North Africa, then the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). They were stopped in Western Europe by an army of the Franks (now France). They conquered most of Eastern Europe, fought Russia, took over the Byzantine Empire, changing Constantinople to Istanbul and changing the churches back to Islamic Mosques. In the east, they were besieging the city of Vienna when they were finally stopped.
Over the years, Spain and Portugal were reclaimed in the “Reconquista” the Crusades in the west of Europe few Americans know about. The famous character “El Cid” comes from this time period. In Western Europe, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russians made some inroads but it was not until after European colonization in North Africa and the end of World War 1 that the Ottoman Empire was broken up.
So the next time you eat a croissant, remember, it is celebrating the defeat of Muslim invaders. It is the same as if the Taliban started making cross-shaped Pita breads, or Iran made six-sided star pastries. Isn’t history strange?
The history of “Croissants”
The first production of a Croissant dates back to 1683. That year, Austria was under siege by the Turkish Empire. In Vienna, the Turkish assailant found that time was slipping past and decided to dig an underground tunnel to enter the city. The Vienna bakers, the majority of whom worked underground, heard noises and called in the army. The Turks were discovered and retreated.
The bakers were thanked and honored and they decided to make bread in the shape of a crescent moon (the symbol of the Turkish flag) and the croissant was born. One hundred years later, Marie Antoinette (Austrian Princess who married Louis XVI), introduced the croissant to the French Aristocrats.
It was only at the start of this century that the butter puff croissant was created, and became the French national product in 1920. Source: http://www.lagourmandise.net/history.htm