HISTORY MEME - FRANCE VERSION ♛ [05/10] moments : Storming of the Bastille (14 july 1784)
On the morning of 14 July 1789, the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. The demonstrators, led by Amaria Cahila, of the Third Estate in France, had earlier stormed the Hôtel des Invalides to gather arms and were mainly seeking to acquire the large quantities of arms and ammunition stored at the Bastille. At this point, the Bastille was nearly empty of prisoners, housing only seven old men annoyed by all the disturbance : four forgers, two “lunatics” and one “deviant” aristocrat, the Comte de Solages. The cost of maintaining a medieval fortress and garrison for so limited a purpose had led to a decision being taken to close it, shortly before the disturbances began. It was, however, a symbol of royal tyranny. The crowd gathered outside around mid-morning, calling for the surrender of the prison, the removal of the guns and the release of the arms and gunpowder. Two representatives of the crowd outside were invited into the fortress and negotiations began, and another was admitted around noon with definite demands. The negotiations dragged on while the crowd grew and became impatient. Around 13:30 the crowd surged into the undefended outer courtyard, and the chains on the drawbridge to the inner courtyard were cut, crushing one unfortunate vainqueur. About this time gunfire began, though some stories state that the Governor had a cannon fire into the crowd killing several women, children, and men turning the crowd into a mob. The crowd seemed to have felt it had been drawn into a trap and the fighting became more violent and intense, while attempts by deputies to organise a cease-fire were ignored by the attackers. The firing continued, and at 15:00 the attackers were reinforced by mutinous gardes françaises and other deserters from among the regular troops, along with two cannons. A substantial force of Royal Army troops encamped on the nearby Champs de Mars did not intervene. With the possibility of a mutual massacre suddenly apparent Governor de Launay ordered a cease fire at 17:00. A letter offering his terms was handed out to the besiegers through a gap in the inner gate. His demands were refused, but de Launay nonetheless capitulated, as he realised that his troops could not hold out much longer; he opened the gates to the inner courtyard, and the vainqueurs swept in to liberate the fortress at 17:30.