Cannon fire is part of a king’s swearing-in ceremony. Why are there exactly 101?

Asker: class 3A, 8 years


Actually because there are a lot of them!

It is an odd number, because even numbers of salutes are only used at funerals, not festivities.

It was once a way for naval vessels to show that they discharged all their guns, and thus had complete confidence in the opposing party – that number was usually somewhere between 7 and 21 guns (and shots). Most heads of state are still greeted with 21 cannon shots, which was the maximum for a long time.

When the British royal family subordinated a number of Indian kingdoms in 1858, those Indian monarchs were also awarded a 21-gun salute. To make the distinction, the British monarchs were given the title of emperor, and a number of shots that would never be surpassed: 101.

But it was matched. In the Netherlands, 101 cannon shots are sometimes used, just like in independent India. They don’t just do that there when taking oaths, but also sometimes at the birth of a prince or princess, or on a birthday. Incidentally, such a salute easily lasts more than an hour, and usually two to four guns are used for it.

Answered by

Dr. Karl Catteeuw

History of upbringing and education, Romanian, music

Catholic University of Leuven
Old Market 13 3000 Leuven


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