This Week in History: The Storming of the Bastille & Bastille Day

Prise_de_la_BastilleIn 1789 King Louis the XVI of France initiated a series of events that ended in the fall of the French monarchy and the infamous Reign of Terror in which over 40,000 nobles, religious, and those generally on the wrong side of the leaders of French Revolution were killed – more than 16,000 by the dreaded guillotine. In my erotic Regency historical romance from Siren Publishing, Duchess in Waiting, Pierre, the innkeeper of Le Coq Cocorico (The Crowing Rooster) describes the situation to Devon Townsley, the Duke of Ralston, who has traveled incognito to Paris to rescue his fiancée and her friends from the turmoil in Paris:

   rb-etd-duchessinwaiting180x280“Louis needed money. He called the Estates-General last month as he promised but the Third Estate rebelled once they convened. They wanted a constitution, not more taxes. At the end of last month, the Third Estate renamed itself the Communes and began setting up its own powers with a mind toward preparing to govern the nation. They call themselves the National Assembly of the People.”
    “A coupe, then.”
    Pierre gave a typical Gallic shrug. “Perhaps. Two weeks ago, Louis closed the Salle des États. Now they meet in the King’s tennis court. They have been joined by most of the clergy and some of the nobility. They pledged to continue meeting until they have adopted a constitution.”
     “The King won’t take this lightly.”
      “Perhaps. The royal party appears to surrender but the soldiers gather here and in Versailles. I’ve heard this from friends and seen it with my own eyes.” He spit on the floor. “None of this is good for business.”

On July 14, 1789, an irate Paris mob attacked the Bastille, a medieval fortress which served as a prison in Paris, that represented royal authority. Although the prison contained only seven inmates, it was a symbol of the monarchy’s abuses. Its fall and the resulting riots precipitated that French Revolution. Today,  Le quatorze juillet (14 July) is a public holiday in France. The holiday is called Bastille Day in English. To read an excerpt/buy of Duchess in Waiting. Click HERE

Tomorrow, History Discovered – Meet Rosalia, a mummy whose eyes are reported to open and close


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