THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: JULY 14, 1789

The French Revolution

Bastille-DayBastille Day, in France and its overseas départements and territories, is the holiday marking the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, in Paris. Originally built as a medieval fortress, the Bastille eventually came to be used as a state prison. Political prisoners were often held there, as were citizens detained by the authorities for trial. Some prisoners were held on the direct order of the king, from which there was no appeal. Although by the late 18th century it was little used and was scheduled to be demolished, the Bastille had come to symbolize the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy. During the unrest, a mob approached the Bastille to demand the arms and ammunition stored there, and, when the forces guarding the structure resisted, the attackers captured the prison, releasing the seven prisoners held there. The taking of the Bastille signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, and it thus became a symbol of the end of the ancien régime.

Bastille Day. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://library.eb.com/levels/referencecenter/article/389221


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