The History Behind Bastille Day

by Nia Scott

Jul 11, 2019

Bastille Prison, Paris, France © Liondw | Dreamstime

Trends / History

Bastille Day is a French holiday celebrating the anniversary of the fall of Bastille on July 14, 1789. Today, the holiday is celebrated across France in celebration of the French Revolution and the change it brought. It became an official holiday in 1880. There are typically fireworks shows and a large military parade. There is also a lot of singing, dancing and, of course, eating. Besides France, the day is celebrated in former French colonies like French Polynesia.


The fall of Bastille signaled the beginning of the French Revolution and, after that day, France was never the same. At the time of its collapse, Bastille was a state prison used for political prisoners held there under direct order of the king. The citizens were upset with the king and his decisions. At the time, France was experiencing food shortages and high taxes due to King Louis XVI’s debt.


The king called to order an assembly of advisors to give him solutions to his problem. Unfortunately for him, the assembly came to the conclusion that breaking away from the clergy and nobility was the best way to fix the problem. This clash between King Louis XVI and his advisors was what brought the revolution to people’s minds.


This boiling idea reached its peak when, on July 14, revolutionary people in France stormed Bastille, demanding weapons to fight for France’s freedom. This resulted in a bloody battle between the prison employees and those who came for weapons and that night started the French Revolution.




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