The gendarmerie is a militarized body that performs the functions of the police or, originally, as a security body in small towns. Etymologically it derives from the French word gendarmerie, which in turn comes from the old French expression gens d’armes (people of arms or armed).


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  • History
  • The gendarmerie today
  • The Chilean Gendarmerie
  • In Mexico
  • The French gendarmes
  • In other countries
  • 7 Sources


Gendarmerie is the name that was originally applied in France to every troop of armed men that the feudal lord led to war, but under Charles VIII, in 1439, he specially designated some companies of gendarmes that were the basis of the permanent armies . In Spain in 1476 the Santa Hermandad was created, a security body basically destined to pursue the bandits who harassed the rural roads in the towns The gendarme was armed with all the pieces and had a squire, a page and many archers at his command , composing the whole unit called lance. Each company had 100 spears. The gendarmes had to be noble. They received a salary in charge of the communes or councils and were distributed in positions throughout the kingdom. With the progress of firearms,

The gendarmerie today

It should be noted that there are a multitude of security forces from different states that traditionally retain the name of gendarmes, and that they no longer correspond to a military force proper. Although in some cases it maintains its structure as a military police. Forces that had their origin in this concept, in some cases under another name: the National Gendarmerie of France, the Spanish Civil Guard, the Argentine National Gendarmerie, the Military Police of Brazil, the Carabinieri of Italy, the Carabinieri of Chile, the National Guard of Venezuela. , the Mounted Police of Canada (Royal Canadian Mounted Police in English and Gendarmerie royale du Canada in French), the National Republican Guard of Portugal, the Gendarmerie of the Vatican City, etc. In the past there were also other militarized bodies that are now missing, as is the case with the Police Corps and the Armed Police and Traffic Corps in Spain, the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie, or the former Republican Guard of Peru and the Civil Guard of Peru. An exception is the Chilean Gendarmerie, which performs the functions of a prison guard. The new National Gendarmerie was announced in Mexico in 2013, and in August 2014 it began operations with 5,000 troops. [Citation needed] The powers and functions of the gendarmes depend on each nation. In Argentina, the National Gendarmerie is a police force but of a military nature: that is why it is considered an intermediate force. It was created in 1938 to provide security for the inhabitants of remote areas and to secure the borders. Currently there are more than 80,000 Argentine gendarmes dedicated to guarding strategic sites. These gendarmes provide services in the fields of internal security and national defense. They also participate in foreign policy peace and security missions.

The Chilean Gendarmerie

It is a penitentiary institution. He is in charge of the security of the prisons, working for the execution of sentences and the social reintegration of the detainees. The Chilean gendarmes, therefore, take care of the prisons and also buildings belonging to the Judicial Power.

In Mexico

The National Gendarmerie is a force created in 2014 from the Federal Police division. It has about 10,000 gendarmes who fight organized crime and seek to guarantee public safety.

French gendarmes

They carry out police missions in peri-urban and rural areas. Its duties include providing assistance in emergencies, finding criminal law violators, and law enforcement.

In other countries

There are forces that act as military police but are not called gendarmerie , such as the Civil Guard of Spain and the National Guard of Venezuela.


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