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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Sad Story of the Colour Magenta

The colour magenta is a purplish-pink hue. Magenta is the name of a town in northwestern Italy. Historians speculate the town may have been named for Marcus Maxentius, a Roman general —and later an emperor— who had his headquarters there in the 4th century. In 1859, during the Second Italian War of Independence, French and Italian forces defeated the Austrians at Magenta. The battle was so bloody that more than seven thousand men died and were buried in one mass grave. Shortly afterward, a new type of purplish-pink dye, made from coal tar, was discovered. The colour, originally called fuchsine (or fuchsia) after the dye used to create it, was soon renamed magenta. Some suspected it was called magenta after the red-coloured uniforms worn by the French troops. Some believed it was renamed to celebrate the victory of the French army at the Battle of Magenta on June 4, 1859, near the Italian city of that name. Magenta, according to this theory, refers to the colour of the land all covered by the fresh blood of the soldiers.  

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