The result of this strange shape was a higher maneuverability of the sword: with the weight of the blade concentrated in one's hand it became possible to maneuver the blade at a greater speed and with a higher degree of control, allowing the fencer to place a precise thrust at his/her adversary.
The blades appeared in 1680 and were popular during the next 40 years at the royal European courts. The colichemarde bladed swords had a special popularity with the officers of the French and Indian War period. Even George Washington had one.
The colichemarde descended from the so-called "transition rapier", which appeared because of a need for a lighter sword, better suited to parrying. It was not so heavy at its point; it was shorter and allowed a limited range of double time moves.
The colichemarde in turn appeared as a thrusting blade too and also with a good parrying level, hence the strange, yet successful shape of the blade.
This sword appeared at about the same time as the foil. However the foil was created for practicing fencing at court, while the colichemarde was created for dueling.
Since the colichemardes were considered relatives of the rapier, they were mostly used as dueling weapons. They were not widely used by the regular armies of Europe, and mostly used as a usual fencing sword among the civilians.
With the appearance of pocket pistols as a self-defense weapon, the colichemardes found an even more extensive use in dueling.
The decline of these blades started when people stopped using rapiers as their main weapon, whereby the need to parry also became obsolete. Lighter in weight, but more popular, the small sword found a wide usage and here the colichemarde was at a significant disadvantage: it was heavier and not as easy in use as the small sword. Thus took place the transformation of the colichemarde into the small sword.
Another descendant of the colichemarde is the épée, a modern fencing weapon.