Bastille Day also known as the National Day of France is celebrated on the 14th of July every year.
- Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the national day of France.
- In French it is known officially as La Fête Nationale or le 14 juillet.
- This day marks the fall of Bastille, a military fortress and prison, on July 14, 1789, when an angry mob stormed into it, signaling the beginning of the French Revolution.
- The first celebration can be traced back to July 14, 1790, exactly one year after the Bastille fell. Since then, it has continued to grow, and large parties are held all over the world.
- The slogan “Vive le 14 juillet!” (“Long live the 14th of July!”) has continued to be associated with the day.
- The Bastille was originally built as a fortress guarding the eastern entrance of the city of Paris during the 1300s.
- It was later used as a French state prison and a place of detention for important persons during the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Prisoners who were directly sent there under orders of the king would get no trial or right of appeal, at times including political prisoners who spoke against the rules and laws set by the ruling king. Detained citizens awaiting trial were also held at the Bastille.
- Despite plans to demolish the building in the late 18th century, the Bastille had come to represent the Bourbon monarchy and the harsh acts carried out by them.
- It was stormed by an angry mob of revolutionists on July 14, 1789, who then released the seven prisoners being detained at the site. It is largely considered the signal to the French Revolution.
- Within days of the storming, feudalism was abolished in France and by August the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” was published.
- A year later, in 1790, a Fête de la Fédération was held to celebrate the fall of the Bastille and to symbolize the unity of the French people during the Revolution.
- Delegates from across France gathered in Paris to declare their allegiance to a single nation which was an important unifying aspect of the Revolution.