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Old 26th March 2005, 05:51 AM   #11
Chris Evans
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 584

Hi Frank,

Yes, that's a French navaja. Contrary to common perceptions, by the middle of the nineteenth century, they made up the vast majority of navajas in Spain and the Spanish ratcheting `Santolios' and `Sevillanas' were very much in the minority. Between 1850 and 1870 over twenty million such folders were imported into Spain, a staggering number if we consider the then adult male population being only around 4 million!

What I find even more interesting is that whilst they were large and looked fearsome, in truth they made for rather poor weapons, because they lacked a proper blade lock, relying on mere spring pressure fixation and were very slow to open. The absence of a secure lock is what made these knives acceptable to the authorities and the significance of this fact cannot be overstated.

The absence of a lock made thrusting a rather risky, though not impossible, proposition and when used in fights, they must have relied more on the sweeping cut.

I just cannot help feeling that folklore aside, the Spaniards of old were not quite as ready to fight to the death as they are nowadays made out to be.

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