Watch this video. The French Revolution began in May 1789 with the meeting of the Estates-General – a general assembly representing the three French estates of the realm: the nobility, the church, and the common people. Summoned by King Louis XVI to propose
solutions to his government's financial problems, the Estates-General sat for several weeks in May and June 1789 but came to an impasse as the three estates clashed over their respective powers. It was brought to an end when many members of the Third
Estate formed themselves into a National Assembly, signaling the outbreak of the Revolution. On July 14 of that same year, the Bastille – a medieval fortress and prison which represented royal authority in the center of Paris – was stormed by a mob
that demanded the arms and ammunition stored there.