Bastille Day is a national holiday in France. It is more or less similar to the Independence Day in the United States because it marks the beginning of a new form of government. In France, it is formally called La Fete Nationale(National Celebration). It commemorates the 1790 Fete de la Federation, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the bastille. The storming of the bastille occured in Paris on the 14th of July, 1789.
The Storming Of The Bastille:
France faced a major economic crisis during the reign of Louis XVI. The crisis started due to the cost of intervening in the American Revolution and unequal system of taxation. On May 5, 1789 the Estates-General of 1789 convened to deal with the issue but were held back by the nobility(Second Estate). In June 1789, the Third Estate consisting of the middle class reconstituted themselves of the National Assembly. After initially opposing the national assembly, the King later acknowledge their authority and the National assembly was renamed the National Constituent Assembly on 9th July 1789. Paris showed wide support for the assembly.
On 11 July 1989, Louis XVI under the influence of his conservative nobles, dismissed and banished his finance minister Jacques Necker who was sympathetic to the third estate. News of Necker’s dismissal spread like wildfire and reached Paris in the afternoon of 12 July. Liberal Parisians were enraged and they thought that Royal troops brought to Versailles would attempt to shut down the National Constituent Assembly. Crowds gathered throughout Paris and Camille Desmoulins, a known free mason, rallied the crowd successfully. On 12 July, during the public demonstrations public displayed busts of Necker and clashed with the Royal German Cavalry Regiment.
On the morning of 14 July 1789, the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. The demonstrators were seeking to acquire the large quantities of arms and ammunition stored at the Bastille. At this point, Bastille only had seven inmates. The impatient crowd surged into the Bastille prison and the fight started. The firing continued till cease fire was ordered by the governor. 98 attackers and one defender had died in the actual fighting
Bastille Day Celebration:
On the 21 May, 1880, Benjamin Respail proposed a law to have “the republic choose the 14 July as a yearly national holiday”. The law was made official on 6 July 1880 and the misistry of the interior recommended to prefects that the day should be celebrated with all the brilliance that the local sources allow. Festivities are held in the morning of 14 July, on the Chaps-Elysees avenue in Paris. There are parades and fireworks. France also invites their allies to the parade. Indeed the celebration of the Bastille Day are particularly magnificent.
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