On this day in 1789, members of the Third Estate of France’s États-généraux—representing the common people—stormed the prison-fortress known as the Bastille.

First Fete de la Federation

Bastille Day

Over 100 people were killed, almost exclusively on the attacking side, but the fortress was taken. Bernard-René de Launey, governor of the Bastille, was beaten to death by the enraged crowd after the fight had ended.

The day has since taken on a special significance as a major tipping point in the French Revolution. First celebrated in 1790 as the Fête de la Fédération, it is now simply known as Bastille Day, a day of French Independence celebrated nationwide to honor peace and unity.

Commemoration of the Destruction of the Bastille

French Independence Day

The article below shows a suggested inscription for a monument built on the site of the Bastille, published in the year following the conflict.

Proposed inscription for the fall of the Bastille

Find more on the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution on Newspapers.com.

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