Monday, July 14, 2008

Fête Nationale (Bastille Day), public holiday, France and all French dependencies

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Bastille Day is a holiday commemorating the end of the monarchy in France and the beginning of the First Republic, during the French Revolution.

On May 5, 1789, Louis XVI convened the General Estates to hear their grievances. The deputies of the Third Estate representing the common people (the two others were clergy and nobility) decided to break away and form a National Constituent Assembly.

On June 20, the deputies of the Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath (named after the place where they had gathered which was a place where an ancestor of tennis, the 'jeu de paume' was played), swearing not to separate until a Constitution had been established. To show their support, the people of Paris stormed the Bastille, a prison where people were jailed by decision of the king. Thus the Bastille was a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy.

Many historians believe that the storming of the Bastille was more important as a rallying point and symbolic act of rebellion than any practical act of defiance ...

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