The Bastille

The Bastille's name was taken from the medieval French word bastide or fortress. It was constructed to defend the East side of Paris.
The Bastille was completed in 1382 with walls over 80 feet (over 24 meters) in height and surrounded by a moat.
In the first half of the 17th century it was used as a prison. Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII’s chief minister, is credited with beginning the modern transformation of the Bastille, further increasing its use as a state prison.
By 1789, the liberators had discovered that life inside the Bastille was more comfortable than they had imagined.
Prisoners could bring in their own furniture and meals and the wealthy ones could even bring in their servants.
By 1789, life inside the Bastille could no longer be compared to the horrors of the legend.

On July 14, 1789, the Bastille proudly stood invincible.
On that day in July, a rumor circulated that troops were going to be sent in to break up the National Assembly.
A mob of people surrounded the Bastille. Three hundred guards deserted their regiments and if it were not for them, the Bastille would not have been overcome so decisively.
Before the surrender only one of the defenders was killed and three wounded.
On the attackers’ side, 83 lay dead and 73 injured.
 

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