- In France, July 14 is a national holiday called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) or simply le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July).
- The day starts off with the ( Défilé militaire du 14 Juillet ) oldest and largest military parade in Europe. It descends the Champs-Élysées avenue from l’Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde where the President of the French Republic, his government and foreign ambassadors to France sit.
- The 14th of July commemorates the storming of the Bastille.
- The Bastille was a fortress built in Paris in the late 1300s. It was used by the kings of France like a state prison. It has been cited by certain historians as being one of the most powerful fortifications of its time.
|Bastille (source: wikipedia.org)|
- Prior to the 14th of July 1789, France was traversing a period of social, economic and religious unrest.
- The economic crisis and increasing national debt was partially due to the cost of intervening in the American Revolution.
- Both the working class as well as the educated middle class was heavily taxed and bread and basic necessities difficult to obtain.
- Desperate, the citizens of Paris plundered food and gun supplies.
- Demonstrators of the Third Estate had previously stormed the Hotel des Invalides to gain arms. They retrieved 29,000 to 32,000 muskets, but lacked gunpowder or shot. The ammunition (over 13,000 kilograms of gunpowder) was being stored at the Bastille.
- On the morning of July 14th 1789, an angry mob headed to the Bastille (symbol of royal tyranny) demanding arms and gunpowder.
- Negotiations with the Governor of Bastille failed.
- Ninety-eight attackers and one defender died in the actual fighting.
- Governor of the Bastille, Bernard René Jourdan, marquis de Launay, was seized, dragged outside, beaten and stabbed repeatedly. His head was sawn off and fixed on a pike to be carried through the streets of Paris.
- The Bastille was liberated at 17:30, July 14, 1789.
|"C'est ainsi que l'on punit les traitres." (This is how we punish traitors)|
(source: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/, wikipedia.com)