A barricade is any object or structure that creates a barrier or obstacle to control, block passage or force the flow of traffic in the desired direction. The very first barricades in the streets of Paris, a feature of the French Revolution and urban rebellions ever since, went up on the Day of the Barricades, 12 May 1588, when an organized rebellion of Parisians forced Henri III from Paris, leaving it in the hands of the Catholic League. Wagons, timbers and hogsheads (barriques) were chained together to impede the movements of Swiss Guards and other forces loyal to the king.
Adopted as a military term, a barricade denotes any improvised field fortification, most notably on the city streets during urban warfare. Barricades featured heavily in the various European revolutions of the late 18th to early 20th centuries; Les Misérables famously describes the building and defending of a barricade during the Parisian insurrection of June 1832. A major aim of Haussmann's renovation of Paris under Napoléon III was to eliminate the potential of citizens to build barricades by widening streets into avenues too wide for barricades to block. Such terms as "go to the barricades" or "standing at the barricades" are used in various languges, especially in rousing songs of various radical movements, as metaphors for starting and participating in a revolution or civil war, even when no physical barricades are used.
Making an early appearance in a Royal Shakespeare Company production, the barricade is used in Les Misérables as a symbol of the whole, through its immense, almost frightening size and ultimately the site of all the highs in Les Misérables.
Barricades also include temporary traffic barricades designed with the goal of dissuading passage into a protected or hazardous area or large slabs of cement whose goal is to actively prevent forcible passage by a vehicle. Stripes on barricades and panel devices slope downward in the direction traffic must travel.
There are also pedestrian barricades - sometimes called bike rack barricades or police barriers. They originated in France approximately 50 years ago and are now produced around the world. They were first produced in the U.S. 40 years ago by Friedrichs Mfg for New Orleans's Mardi Gras parades.