What was the Bastille Prison?
The Bastille Prison was a prison (technically a fortress for many years, but we’re talking about the Bastille Prison here) in Paris, France. The Bastille Prison had been constructed in the 1300′s the defend Paris in the Hundred Years War, a series of fights from 1337 to 1453 between France and England. It had various uses throughout its history, but later on became just a penitentiary.
The Bastille Prison wasn’t made for its looks. The Bastille Prison was for defending the country, storing supplies (such as ammunition and gunpowder) and prisoners. That’s what it was made for and that’s what it did well. Here’s a picture of the Bastille Prison from the outside:
As you can see, the Bastille Prison was a tall building, with four towers on each half, for a total of eight. It stood almost twenty-five meters or eighty feet high. Most of its towers had dungeons in their base and further cells throughout. It had a courtyard which had various uses throughout its lifespan and looked like this:
That’s the Bastille Prison’s courtyard. Looks just like its outside, but you’re inside. Let’s get on with it.
The public’s opinion of the Bastille Prison was an interesting one. It was viewed as a symbol of the King’s power, yet it was actually quite nice (compared to other prisons). Prisoners were treated to a full day’s worth of quality food each and every day, and the cells weren’t unusually cramped. In fact, the Bastille Prison was meant to hold as many as fifty people but only held seven when the it was invaded by commoners to get ammunition and gunpowder to defend against actions by King Louis XVI in 1789.
You may now be asking why the Bastille Prison was a symbol of the King’s power. Well, it was used for a lot political prisoners. You disagree with the King? Throw him in the Bastille! Voice your concern about the state of the country? Throw him in the Bastille! Basically, many of the people in the Bastille Prison were there because they were interested in helping the people, not the King. Nobody wanted these political voices in prison, except the King and people of similar wealth. Therefore, the Bastille Prison was a symbol of the King’s unconditional power over the people of France.