Prior to the French Revolution, there was no national flag which represented France. A variety of flags were used by troops, different types of ships and for other purposes. From 1590-1790 this flag is one of four that was used on warships and fortresses. The plain white flag, known as the Bourbon Banner, and this white flag with three golden fleurs-de-lis, a white flag with many fleurs-de-lis, or a white flag with many fleurs-de-lis with the arms of France in the center. The simpler designs such as this were used in ordinary circumstances and it is believed that the white flag of France flew over all or most of the French forts and settlements in America.