What exactly is Bastille Day?

  • France has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris in July.
  • Every year on July 14, France celebrates its National Day, also known as Bastille Day.
  • The day, known as La Fete Nationale or Le 14 Juillet in French, is marked by pyrotechnics and a parade.
  • One of the most significant days in French history, it commemorates the collapse of the Bastille, a military fortress and political prison that was once regarded as a symbol of the monarchy and armoury.

Fall of Bastille

  • The fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, is widely considered the beginning of the French Revolution.
  • The Bastille was a fortress prison in the centre of Paris that had come to represent royal tyranny and oppression.
  • Parisians were growing increasingly dissatisfied with the ruling monarch, King Louis XVI, whom they saw as a weak and ineffectual leader.
  • On July 14, 1789, a large crowd assembled in front of the Bastille, demanding the release of political prisoners as well as the confiscation of the fortress’s arms and ammunition.
  • The Governor of the Bastille declined to surrender the fortress, resulting in a violent clash between Parisians and Bastille defenders.
  • The Bastille fell after several hours of fierce combat, and the people of Paris stormed the fortress.

Significance of the event

  • The fall of the Bastille was a watershed event in French history, symbolising the people’s victory over the monarchy and the end of the old regime.
  • The event also signalled the start of a time of intense violence and social upheaval in France, as revolutionaries seized power and established a new order.

Global importance of this event

  • The fall of the Bastille, a symbol of the oppressive monarchy, was a watershed moment in the French Revolution, inspiring other countries to battle for their rights and freedom.
  • The revolution resulted in the abolition of feudalism, the Declaration of Man’s and Citizen’s Rights, and the creation of the First French Republic.
  • The French Revolutionary principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity had a profound effect on the world’s political and social landscape.
  • Throughout history, these ideals have influenced many other revolutionary movements.
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