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Historical Events  General
The Storming of the Bastille

How many prisoners released?

MMDE: Hundreds of prisoners freed

Current: 7 prisoners freed

It's a common notion that the French Revolution was started when the angry mob stormed the Bastille, freeing all the prisoners held there by the evil ruling monarchy so they could join their ranks and take over the country. That's partly true - but how many prisoners were freed? The image of thousands swarming out, cheering on the revolutionaries is a popular one, but history is showing this isn't the case, as in fact there were 7.

The Bastille was a large, imposing fortress which was also used as a weapons and ammunition store. This made it a target for the revolutionaries, but it's role as a symbol of the tyrannical royal family, which often imprisoned people there with no trial, was clearly of great importance too.

Started the French Revolution

As the sun rose on July 14, 1789, a large crowd armed with muskets, pikes and various makeshift weapons gathered round the Bastille. By lunchtime a white flag was raised from its rooftops. The great storming was over, and the revolution had begun.