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Bastille Day

Authored by Nathaniel Andrews
Published on 14th July, 2022 1 min read

Bastille Day

A picture of the French flag flying underneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Today (14/07/2022) is Bastille Day (the ‘Fête nationale française’), a national holiday celebrated throughout France and its overseas territories every year, as well as in former French colonies, including parts of Canada and India. 

The event commemorates the storming of the Bastille Saint-Antoine in Paris, a historical landmark which, many argue, sparked the beginning of one of the most dramatic political upheavals in modern history: the French Revolution. On this day, in 1789, a crowd of protestors captured the Bastille fortress – then used as a prison for political opponents of the government – and released the inmates housed there. This building encapsulated the authoritarian nature of France’s Ancien Régime, and its seizure marked a profound shift in the balance of power, paving the way for the abolition of the monarchy, and the establishment of the First French Republic, in 1792. Since then, the storming of the Bastille has remained symbolic of opposition to tyranny and oppression, across the world.

Authored by Nathaniel Andrews

Nathaniel Andrews

Nathaniel Andrews is Senior Editor at British Online Archives, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute. Between October 2018 and September 2021, he taught in the Schools of History and Languages at the University of Leeds, and between September 2021 and June 2022, he was a Lecturer in Spanish and Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester. His research centres primarily on the history of anarchism in the Hispanic World and North America, and he has several publications on the Spanish and Argentinian labour movements. He is currently working on his first monograph.

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Notable Days


The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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