Fact of the day: 14th July

On this day in 1789 citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille.

The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France on the morning of 14 July 1789.

The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the center of Paris.

The prison only contained seven inmates at the time of its storming but was a symbol of the abuses of the monarchy: its fall was the flashpoint of the French Revolution.

The king was only informed of the storming the next morning by the Duke of La Rochefoucauld. “Is it a revolt?” asked Louis XVI. The duke replied: “No sire, it is a revolution.”

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The citizenry of Paris, expecting a counterattack, entrenched the streets, built barricades of paving stones, and armed themselves as well as they could, especially with improvised pikes.

Meanwhile, at Versailles, the Assembly remained ignorant of most of the Paris events, but eminently aware that Marshal de Broglie stood on the brink of unleashing a pro-Royalist coup to force the Assembly to adopt the order of 23 June and then to dissolve.

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