1789 - French Revolution: Citizens of Paris storm the Bastille and free seven prisoners.
During the reign of King Louis XVI, France was forced to confront a major financial crisis which had been brewing for decades. On May 5, 1789, the Estates-General of 1789 convened to deal with this issue, but was held back by archaic protocols and the conservatism of the Second Estate. On June 17, 1789, the representatives of the Third Estate reconstituted themselves as the National Assembly, a body whose purpose was the creation of a French constitution. The king initially opposed this development, but was forced to acknowledge the authority of the assembly, which subsequently renamed itself the National Constituent Assembly on July 9.
The Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 was an important symbolic development in the French Revolution. Although at the time the Bastille contained only seven prisoners, its taking marked the beginning of open rebellion against the king. The first anniversary of the event was celebrated by holding the Fête de la Fédération. The Fête de la Fédération is itself commemorated each year in France in an event known in English as Bastille Day, France's national holiday.