Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette


Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (l. 1757-1834), more commonly known in the United States as simply Lafayette, was a French aristocrat, military officer, and politician. He was a major figure in both the American and French revolutions, helping to shape the destiny of both countries.

More about: Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette


  • 6 Sep 1757
    Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette is born in the French province of Auvergne.
  • 26 Apr 1777
    Lafayette leaves France against the king's wishes, beginning his two month voyage to America.
  • 31 Jul 1777
    Lafayette receives his commission as a major general in the Continental Army in Philadelphia.
  • 11 Sep 1777
    Battle of Brandywine Creek; George Washington's army is defeated by British forces after 11 hours of fighting. Lafayette is wounded.
  • 28 Sep 1781 - 17 Oct 1781
    Siege of Yorktown results in the surrender of British army led by Lord Cornwallis. News of the defeat led Britain to enter into peace negotiations with the colonists.
  • 5 May 1789
    The Estates-General convenes in Versailles for the first time in 175 years.
  • 11 Jul 1789
    Lafayette presents a draft of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen to the National Assembly.
  • 15 Jul 1789
    Lafayette is appointed commander of the newly formed National Guard, and charged with keeping order in Paris.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 1792 - 1797
    Upon fleeing France after the Jacobin rise to power, Lafayette is captured by the Austrians and imprisoned for five years.
  • 24 Dec 1807
    Adrienne de Lafayette, wife of the marquis, dies.
  • 1824
    Lafayette returns to the United States where he embarks on a grand tour, visiting each of the 24 states in the union.
  • 1830
    During the Revolution of 1830, Lafayette supports Louis-Philippe as king; Charles X abdicates.
  • 20 May 1834
    Marquis de Lafayette dies aged 76.