On this day in 1789, French citizens stormed the Bastille; an event now commemorated on Bastille Day.
It had been a long, rough time for France. King Louis XIV had nearly bankrupted the country in his fervor to help the American revolutionaries defeat his old enemy, Britain; a volcanic eruption in Iceland caused foul weather across Europe and destroying the harvest in France; and the common people were starving and crushed by the brutal taxes levied be the king. Affected by the same ideas that led to the American Revolution, French commoners were infuriated that King Louis ignored their requests for a more modern, cleaner Paris.
The lower classes could take no more, and on July 14th they mobbed the city’s prison fortress, the Bastille. While the fortress was known to house political prisoners taken into custody without due process. The mob wasn’t out to free the prisoners, though. They were there to liberate the stores of gunpowder and muskets.
The storming of the Bastille marked the beginning of the French Revolution, the toppling of the French monarchy, and the beginning of democracy in France. To this day, French people march to the Bastille to protest or support the social and political causes of the day.
Liberty, equality, and brotherhood? Very cool.