When did the Red Cross Start?

On a hot day in June, 1859, at the close of the battle of Solferino, fifteen thousand dead and wounded lay on the battle field. There where view surgeons, and many of the wounded died before they could receive medical attention.

A young Swiss, Henri Dunant, traveling through the battle area the wounded, he gathered a volunteer band of women for a nearby Italian Village, and under his Guidance and example, they nursed the wounded.

Henri Dunant wrote a pumphlet about the terrible scenes he had witnessed. He claimed that much the death and suffering could be avoided if an organization were founded to protect the wounded in battle, “without distinction of nationality”.


Thanks to Dunant’s humanitarian concern, the Red Cross Treaty was adopted by fourteen nations at an international conference at Geneva in 1864, and was revised in 1906. It provides for the protection, in time of war, of relief societies to be organized in various nations.

The Swiss flag, with colors reversed, was adopted as the Red Cross emblem. Now, under the Red Cross banner, the hearts of many nations unite in the service of humanity in times of war or national disaster. In every war, this banner or mercy is respected by friend and foe alike.

The British Red Cross Society was founded in 1870, and incorporated in 1908. Although the British Forces have medical services of their own, in time of war the Red Cross provides necessary further assistance. 

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