Celebrated as a national French holiday, Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison on July 14, 1789 by an angry Parisian mob. It is frequently considered the start of the French Revolution, which eventually saw the overthrow of the monarchy, and the establishment of the French Republic.
Dedicated entirely to explaining Bastille Day and the French Revolution, this site is divided into four sections: History, Biographies, Symbols, and Quizzes. History starts with the political and economic reasons for the Revolution, and continues through The Reign of Terror that occurred at the end of the Revolution. Of course, it includes the story of the Storming of Bastille on July 14, 1789. Biographies covers ten personalities whose lives are intertwined with the Revolution, including Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and Maximilian de Robespiere.
"The French national holiday, celebrated annually on July 14, is officially called the Fête Nationale, and commemorates the Fête de la Fédération - but it is commonly known in English as Bastille Day." Although primarily a travel site, Discover France also covers culture, history and language. The seven-page section about the Bastille includes its early history as a fortress during the Hundred Years' War (it was built between 1370 and 1383) and the story of one famous but anonymous prisoner known as The Man in the Iron Mask. The Storming of the Bastille is covered in Parts 3 and 4.
Created in collaboration with George Mason University, City University of New York and the National Endowment for the Humanities, this site for high school and college students, archives more than 600 primary documents, and unites them with a timeline, a glossary and maps. Here the storming of the Bastille is analyzed more deeply than at other sites. For example, it asks the question "[G]iven the sharply rising bread prices in Paris at the time, were the crowds that gathered on the 14th engaging in a more traditional form of protest, a large-scale 'bread riot,' that took on political significance only as events unfolded?"
"Taken from the French word 'bastide', meaning fortress, the Bastille was constructed to defend the eastern wall of Paris in 1382. But because it had previously been used to house political prisoners, it had long been a symbol of royal tyranny." This illustrated history lesson briefly introduces the history of the Bastille, and describes the angry Paris mob that stormed the walls on July 14, 1789.
With video clips of modern-day Place de Bastille, where the Bastille fortress once stood, this two-minute movie briefly tells the story of the storming of the Bastille that "marked the beginning of the bloody phase of the Revolution." Additional French Revolution videos can be in the "History: Europe: Battles & Revolution" section, or by using the search function near the top of the page.