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Bernard-René de Launay

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Bernard-René Jourdan, marquis de Launay (8 or 9 April 1740 – 14 July 1789) was the governor of the Bastille during the outbreak of the French Revolution.

On 14 July 1789, revolutionaries demanded that de Launay surrender the Bastille and hand over the gunpowder stored there. De Launay refused however, and the revolutionaries stormed the Bastille in response. After some hestitation, he ordered the garrison to fire at the attackers.

Eventually deciding to surrender on the condition that nobody from the fortress would be killed, de Launay threatened to blow up the structure and the surrounding district if his demands were not met. Although the revolutionaries broke the terms, de Launay surrendered. As he was escorted to the Hôtel de Ville by the revolutionaries, he was tortured and eventually beheaded.

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