28. The Storming of Bastille – Catalyst of the French Revolution, 1789
In the afternoon of 14th July 1789, the prison-fortress of Bastille in Paris – a beacon of royal authority – saw a massive crowd gathered outside, demanding the weapons and ammunition stored within.
Negotiations began between Bastille’s forces and two municipal authorities, but the patience of the crowd eventually thinned out. What ensued was a cacophonous storming of the fortress with rampant confusion and armed assault.
Ultimately, the resident governor of Bastille, Bernard-René de Launay, was drawn out and killed – his head raised on a pike as a signal of defiance and revolution. By the next day, King Louis XVI had got wind of the incident, but it was too late. The rest is history.