French Revolution Timeline

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  • 13 Apr 1747 - 6 Nov 1793
    Life of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, also known as Philippe Égalité. Head of the House of Orléans, and a supporter of the French Revolution.
  • 22 Oct 1761 - 29 Nov 1793
    Life of Antoine Barnave, French revolutionary leader.
  • 11 Jun 1775
    Coronation of King Louis XVI of France.
  • 1781
    Jacques Necker, French Director of Finance, publishes the Compte rendu au roi, the first record of royal finances ever made public.
  • Jan 1789
    Abbé Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès publishes his influential pamphlet "What is the Third Estate?"
  • 5 May 1789
    The Estates-General convenes in Versailles for the first time in 175 years.
  • 11 Jul 1789
    Jacques Necker, popular Chief Minister of France, is fired from King Louis XVI's cabinet for a second time and ordered into exile.
  • 12 Jul 1789 - 14 Jul 1789
    The dismissal of Jacques Necker causes over 6,000 Parisians to take to the streets. They fight with soldiers, burn toll booths, and raid armories and gunsmiths for weapons.
  • 14 Jul 1789
    The Bastille in Paris is stormed.
  • 15 Jul 1789
    Lafayette is appointed commander of the newly formed National Guard, and charged with keeping order in Paris.
  • c. 19 Jul 1789 - c. 6 Aug 1789
    The Great Fear sweeps across the French countryside, as peasants attack the feudal estates of the nobility.
  • 4 Aug 1789
    The National Constituent Assembly discards their privileges, decides to abolish feudalism in France.
  • 11 Aug 1789
    In France, the August Decrees are passed.
  • 26 Aug 1789
    France's National Assembly approves a final version of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
  • Oct 1789
    The Women's March on Versailles increases demand for a French constitutional monarchy, relocates the royal family to the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
  • 5 Oct 1789 - 6 Oct 1789
    Women's March on Versailles; King Louis XVI of France is forcibly moved to Paris.
  • Jan 1790
    The National Assembly passes a decree making Corsica a department of France; Corsican hero Pasquale Paoli is invited back from exile after 22 years.
  • 13 Feb 1790
    The National Assembly abolishes monastic vows in France.
  • 12 Jul 1790
    The Civil Constitution of the Clergy is passed, making the French Catholic Church subordinate to the French government.
  • 14 Jul 1790
    Lafayette helps organize and lead the Fete de Federation, a festival celebrating the French Revolution. He takes an oath swearing loyalty to the nation, the law and the king.
  • 20 Jun 1791 - 21 Jun 1791
    The Flight to Varennes, an attempted escape by the French royal family from Paris, is foiled; public disdain for the monarchy increases.
  • 17 Jul 1791
    National Guard soldiers under Lafayette's command open fire at an anti-monarchy demonstration at the Champ de Mars in Paris. Several French citizens are killed.
  • 27 Aug 1791
    The Declaration of Pillnitz is issued by Austria and Prussia, threatening war against France should any harm befall the French royal family.
  • 3 Sep 1791
    France's National Assembly adopts the Constitution of 1791, with the Declaration of the Rights of Man serving as a preamble.
  • Mar 1792
    Napoleon Bonaparte is elected lieutenant colonel of the Corsican National Guard; weeks later, he suppresses an Easter Sunday uprising in Ajaccio.
  • 20 Apr 1792
    Revolutionary France declares war on Austria, sparking the War of the First Coalition.
  • 29 Apr 1792
    French General Theobald Dillon is butchered by his own soldiers.
  • 11 Jun 1792
    King Louis XVI of France vetoes rulings by the Legislative Assembly, angering many.
  • 20 Jun 1792
    King Louis XVI is accosted in the Tuileries Palace by a swarm of sans-culottes; he is forced to wear a liberty cap and drink a toast to the nation.
  • 9 Aug 1792
    The Insurrectionary Commune gains power in Paris, stripping authority from the king and Legislative Assembly.
  • 10 Aug 1792
    Insurrectionists storm the Tuileries Palace in Paris, massacring the Swiss Guards; King Louis XVI of France is imprisoned in the Temple prison fortress two days later.
  • 13 Aug 1792
    The family of Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette are imprisoned in the Tower of the Temple.
  • 2 Sep 1792 - 7 Sep 1792
    Between 1,100-1,400 prisoners, or half of Paris' total prison population, are killed in the September Massacres.
  • 20 Sep 1792
    The Battle of Valmy results in a French victory over Prussian invaders.
  • 21 Sep 1792
    The National Convention abolishes the French Monarchy during the French Revolution.
  • 21 Sep 1792
    The First French Republic is established.
  • 21 Jan 1793
    King Louis XVI of France, now known as Citizen Louis Capet, is executed by guillotine.
  • 6 Apr 1793
    The Committee of Public Safety is set up by the National Convention.
  • 24 Apr 1793
    The trial of Jean-Paul Marat results in his acquittal, and is a major blow to the Girondins.
  • 4 May 1793
    The National Convention passes the "law of the maximum" which imposes a price cap on grain and wheat.
  • 31 May 1793 - 2 Jun 1793
    The Insurrections of 31 May-02 June 1793 lead to the arrests of prominent Girondins and the political purge of their faction.
  • Jul 1793
    Napoleon publishes his pro-Jacobin pamphlet Le Souper de Beaucaire, gaining the notice of Jacobin leader Augustin Robespierre.
  • 27 Jul 1793
    Maximilien Robespierre elected to the Committee of Public Safety; the National Convention institutes death penalty for hoarders of goods.
  • 14 Oct 1793 - 15 Oct 1793
    Queen Marie Antoinette of France is tried before the Revolutionary Tribunal. She is found guilty of high treason and is sentenced to death.
  • 31 Oct 1793
    21 leading Girondins, including Vergniaud and Brissot, are executed.
  • 9 Aug 1794 - 20 Aug 1794
    Following the Thermidorian Reaction, Napoleon Bonaparte is arrested in connection to the Robespierres; he is eventually released.
  • 5 Oct 1795
    During the French Revolution, the royalist revolt of 13 Vendemiaire is crushed by Napoleon Bonaparte.
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