Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle was a French Army officer during the Revolutionary Wars. He is known for writing the words and music of the Chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin (War Song for the Army of the Rhine) in 1792, which would later be known as La Marseillaise and become the French national anthem.
Rouget de Lisle composed it on 24 April 1792 night. The Strasbourg's mayor had organised a meeting to celebrate that the war to Austria was declared in Paris. The mayor, the baron of Dietrich, asked Rouget for a patriotic anthem for the event they were celebrating. Rouget wrote the anthem and he named it "Chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin".
François Mireur, a future general, listened to the anthem in Montpellier and he sang it at a patriotic meeting in Marseille. Mireur called it "Chant de guerre aux armés aux frontières". The Marseille's troops adopted it as a marching song. They sang it when they entered in Paris on 30 July 1792, and the Parisians baptized the anthem as "La Marseillaise".
La Marseillaise was banned during the Restoration, recognised again during the Revolution of 1830 and proclaimed National Anthem during the French Third Republic. From 1949 to 1945 it was forbidden again, but the Constitutions of 1946 and 1958 confirmed La Marsellaise as the French Anthem.
Due to the high ignorance of the anthem among the young French people, since 2005 learning La Marseillaise is compulsory at primary school.
La Marseillaise praises the patriotism. The violence of the lyrics is criticised even in France and due to his violent nature, there were many attempts for rewriting it. The anthem is often interpreted as racist.
During the Spanish Civil War, it was very common to listen to the Spanish version of La Marsellaise, both socialist and anarchist versions.