French Revolution


The French Revolution (1789-1799) was a period of major societal and political upheaval in France. It witnessed the collapse of the monarchy, the establishment of the First French Republic, and culminated in the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and the start of the Napoleonic era. The French Revolution is considered one of the defining events of Western history.

More about: French Revolution


  • 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.
  • 1793 - 1794
    Thomas Paine is imrpisoned in Frnace during the ongoing French Revolution.
  • 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.