Résumé

Iéna Square is located in the 16th arrondissement, in the Chaillot district, at the intersection of avenues d'Iéna and President Wilson and at the end of avenue Pierre-Ier-de-Serbie and rue Boissière and rue de Longchamp.

Iena Square is named after the Napoleonic victory of Iena (Jena) on October 14, 1806. But the square was created in 1858 and took its current name in 1878.

In the center of the Iena Square stands the equestrian statue of George Washington in bronze by the American sculptor Daniel Chester French. It was donated by a committee of American women from high society and was inaugurated on July 3, 1900.

Localisation
Access

Place d'Iéna
75116 Paris

  • Metro: line 9 (Station Iéna)
  • Bus: Lines 32, 63
Address

Place d'Iéna
75116 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 53″ 2° 17′ 38″
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.86476 2.29389
Description complète

Iena Square is located in the 16th arrondissement, in the Chaillot district, at the intersection of avenues d'Iéna and President Wilson and at the end of avenue Pierre-Ier-de-Serbie and rue Boissière and rue de Longchamp.

Origin of the name "Iena Square"

Iena Square is named after the Napoleonic victory of Iena (Jena) on October 14, 1806. But the square was created in 1858 and took its current name in 1878.

The equestrian statue of George Washington on the Iena Square

In the center of the Iena Square stands the equestrian statue of George Washington in bronze by the American sculptor Daniel Chester French. It was donated by a committee of American women from high society and was inaugurated on July 3, 1900.

The side of the pedestal facing the Guimet Museum reads the following dedication:

"Given by the women of the United States of America in memory of the fraternal aid given by France to their fathers during the struggle for independence."

George Washington until the end of the American War of Independence

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in the Colony of Virginia and died on December 14, 1799 at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was a French-American statesman, Chief of Staff of the Continental Army during the War of Independence between 1775 and 1783 and the first President of the United States of America, serving from 1789 to 1797.

Considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States by Americans, George Washington has been the subject of many tributes since the late 18th century: the capital of the United States, a state in the northwestern part of the Union, as well as many sites and monuments have been named after him. Since 1932, his likeness has appeared on the quarter and the dollar bill.

Throughout his life, he always worked for the defense of what became the territory of the United States. For example, during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), he maneuvered to limit the influence of the French at a time of declining British influence.

But like the other Virginia planters, he was hit by the economic measures imposed by London and became less and less tolerant of the rules imposed, as well as the monopoly of English merchants. This led to the war of independence.

He was one of seven representatives from Virginia to the Second Continental Congress in May 1775. While the Congress was looking for a war leader following the opening of hostilities with Great Britain, Washington attended the meetings in his military uniform. On June 15, on a motion by John Adams, the Continental Congress unanimously appointed him commander-in-chief of the Continental Army created the day before, an office he was to hold for over eight years.

On July 2, 1775, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he found himself at the head of an ill-prepared, motley, small and poorly equipped army. He reinforced discipline and hygiene in the regiments. He reorganized the officer corps. He had to face the British army, the famous "redcoats", composed of 12,000 trained soldiers, which led him to order the recruitment of free blacks.

At the Battle of Monmouth (June 28, 1778) Washington caught the British forces in the rear as they left Freehold Court-House. Supported by French reinforcements, he crushed Charles Cornwallis' army at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. In 1782, Washington created the "Purple Heart" medal which is still today the distinction given to American soldiers wounded in battle. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, which restored peace and recognized the independence of the United States.

In March 1783, Washington stopped the Newburgh Conspiracy, a military plot by officers who threatened the U.S. Congress with a dictatorship. On November 2, Washington gave an eloquent farewell speech to his soldiers. On December 23, 1783, he resigned his command as commander in chief, emulating the Roman general Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.  During this period, the office of President of the United States did not exist under the "Articles of Confederation", the precursor to the Constitution.

George Washington's retirement to Mount Vernon was short-lived

He was chosen as a delegate from Virginia and then as president of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, which met to reform the Articles of Confederation. He chaired the drafting committee for the Constitution. He did not really participate in the debates but intervened to win the ratification of some states, including Virginia. Once the constitution was passed, he was unanimously elected on March 4, 1789 by the electoral college as the first president of the United States. On April 30, 1789, from the Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City, the city chosen to serve as the provisional capital, he formally assumed his duties as chief executive. By taking the oath of allegiance on the Bible, he inaugurated a tradition that still exists today, although it is no longer practiced on April 30 but on January 20 after any American presidential election. Washington was at the height of his popularity.

During his first term (1789-1793), the president worked to strengthen the executive branch and the federal government. To do this, he gathered around him a team of men who had distinguished themselves during the US Revolution

During his second term, when war broke out between revolutionary France and Great Britain (1793), the president decided to remain neutral (Proclamation of Neutrality, April 22, 1793) while waiting for the strengthening of the country. According to him, the entry of the United States into the conflict would have been a disaster for trade and finance.

In September 1796, with the help of Alexander Hamilton, Washington wrote his final address to the American nation, warning of the dangers of partisan divisions. Published in a Philadelphia newspaper, the document called for neutrality and unity and announced the Monroe Doctrine. Institutionally, it called for strict adherence to the Constitution. Washington left the presidency in March 1797 and was replaced by John Adams. He established the custom of a maximum of two terms in office, which became a constitutional rule with the 22nd Amendment passed in 1947. It was during Washington's presidency that the Federalist Party and the Republican Democratic Party were born.

After his second term as president, George Washington retired to his land at Mount Vernon (now a museum). His life and actions have left their mark on the institutions of the United States to this day.

On December 12, 1799, Washington caught a cold in his wet clothes. A bacterial infection of the epiglottis will slowly suffocate him under the growing swelling inside his throat. He died two days later in the presence of his wife, his doctors and his personal secretary Tobias Lear. He was 67 years old. He was buried in Mount Vernon four days after his death. His wife Martha Washington burned all but three of the couple's letters. After George Washington's death, the young American nation mourned for several months.

Doctors now believe that the treatment he underwent, bloodletting, neck incisions and purging, resulted in shock, asphyxiation and dehydration. He is buried in the family cemetery in Mount Vernon.

Remarkable buildings and places of memory around the Place d'Iéna

The Iena Square is not only the statue of George Washington, however. You can find there:

The Palais d'Iéna, whose rotunda opens onto the Place d'Iéna, has been classified as a historical monument since July 5, 1993. Today it houses the Economic, Social and Ecological Council (EESC).
The family of Alexandre de Marenches, future director of the French foreign intelligence services, rented an apartment there during his childhood.
No. 3: also from 1882. The former ambassador and resistance fighter Augustin Jordan (1910-2004) lived at this address. A plaque is affixed in his memory.
No. 5 Place d'Iéna, but hidden from view by the building bordering the square, is a private mansion of 1,800 m2 built and inhabited in its time by Gustave Eiffel and then by Princes Léon (1907), Constantin (1917) and Dominique Radziwill (1925). In 1919, the United States Embassy, previously located at 14, avenue d'Eylau, was transferred to this address. In 1922, the mansion was bought by the ambassador himself. In 1976, the French film L'Aile ou la Cuisse was partly shot there, as well as an episode of the british series Chapeau melon et bottes de cuir in 1977. In the years 1990-2000, the mansion is the Parisian residence of the Lebanese politician Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated in Beirut in 2005. In 2001, the diplomat Boutros Boutros-Ghali came to visit Hariri and described it as follows: "It looks like the palace of a Saudi prince... Two stuffed lions are enthroned in the entrance hall".
No. 6: Musée national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet, inaugurated in 1889.

 

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