Photo of Kipferl courtesy www.wikimedia.org.
Although the croissant, a crescent shaped layered bread roll of a flaky texture, has a French name, its origin is Austrian. Back in 1683, at the Battle of Vienna, Austria had been under siege by the Turks for months. The Turks attempted to starve its citizens. They started tunnelling under the city, and were overheard by bakers in their underground kitchens. The bakers alerted Vienna's defenders who were able to save the city. To celebrate, the Viennese bakers baked bread rolls in the shape of the crescents on the Turkish flag. They called the rolls "kipferl", the German word for crescent.
Photo of Turkish flag courtesy ak7.picdn.net.
There is some question as to how "kipferl" became popular in France. One claim is that Marie Antoinette, an Austrian princess who married a French king, Louis XVI, brought the baked good to her adopted country. Another theory states that August Zang, an Austrian artillery officer, opened a Viennese bakery in France where he served "kipferl". They became known as "croissants", the French word for crescents. The bread rolls have been a fixture of French bakeries since about 1850.
Photo Boulangerie Viennoise circa 1909 courtesy www.wikimedia.org.