Timeline: French Revolution (1789-1799)

French Revolution timeline

On November 9, 1799, the French general Napoleon Bonaparte successfully took control of France from the hands of the Directory and then went ahead to establish the French Consulate. Napoleon’s power grab in effect brought an end to the French Revolution, which was responsible for the 10-year period of complete political and social anarchy in France that saw several tens of thousands of people die.

Events just prior to the beginning of the French Revolution

Fall, 1786: Charles Alexandre de Calonne, King Louis XVI’s controller general, proposes a universal land tax that will make both the nobility and elite pay

February 1787: Louis XVI summons the Assembly, a body made up of great noblemen, prelates and some members from the bourgeoisie community

1788: Unrests in major French cities such as Paris, Rennes, Toulouse, Dijon and Grenoble; the unrest is largely fueled by the bad harvest of 1788

May 5, 1789: King Louis XVI of France calls on the Estates-General (les états généraux) to meet to resolve the impending political and economic issues; the Estates-General, which comprised the clergy, nobility and middle class, had not met since 1614

French Revolution: Timeline

From the 17th of June, 1789, when the National Assembly was established, to November 9, 1799, worldhistoryedu.com presents a complete timeline of the major events that occurred during the French Revolution

June 12, 1789: Palpable fear and pockets of extreme violence – known as the Great Fear – engulf the French capital Paris

June 17, 1789: Leaders from the Third Estate meet and set up the National Assembly

June 20, 1789: Solemnly swearing to fight for the commoners and push for constitutional reforms, representatives from the Third Estate take the Tennis Court Oath

June 27, 1789: As more and more liberal nobles and clerical deputies begin to side with the Third Estate, Louis XVI agrees to incorporate all the three estates into one assembly, the National Constituent Assembly

July 9, 1789: The National Constituent Assembly is formed

July 14, 1789: Irate commoners storm the Bastille, a local prison fortress that stored lots of gunpowder

August 4, 1789: The National Constituent Assembly abolishes feudalism in France

August 26, 1789: Members of the National Assembly give a thumb up to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen)

October 4, 1789: Following the march (by an irate group protesting the reduction of bread prices) from Paris to Versailles, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette flee to Paris

October 5, 1789: Parisians march all the way to Versailles in a bid to bring the royal family, including Louis XVI, to Paris

October 6, 1789: One of the most deadly groups of the French Revolution, the Jacobin Club, is established

June 20/21, 1791: The French royal family is apprehended by the revolutionaries as they try to leave France. The queen and king are returned to face the ire of the commoners

September 14, 1791: Louis XVI gives into pressure and signs a new constitution for France

October 1, 1791: The French Legislative Assembly is formed

March 20, 1792: The radical French revolutionaries adopt the guillotine to dispatch dissenters

April 20, 1792: Incensed by Austria’s attempts to restore the monarchy in France, France decides to go to war against Austria and Prussia

August 10, 1792: Louis XVI of France is arrested by the extremist group called Jacobins

September 2-7, 1792: A bloody phase (the September Massacres) for France as thousands of prisoners alleged to be in cahoots with royalist factions are gruesomely executed

September 20, 1792: The National Convention replaces the Legislative Assembly

September 22, 1793: France welcomes its First Republic

January 21, 1793: Found guilty of treason and crimes against the state and his people, Louis XVI loses his head to the guillotine

March 7, 1793: Friction between revolutionaries and royalists in Vendee spirals into an all-out civil war

April 6, 1793: In an effort to restore order in the country, the Committee of Public Safety is established; the Committee instead inflicts unimaginable and wanton suffering on the people

June 1793: The radical political group known as the Jacobins take control from Girondins, ushering a very bloody phase

July 13, 1793: Charlotte Corday orders the killing of Jean-Paul Marat, a journalist beloved by the radicals

September 5, 1793: Maximilien de Robespierre, the head of the Committee of Public Safety, adopts a tyrannical rule as he pledges to use terror to bring the people in line; and so the Reign of Terror begins

September 17, 1793: The French government passes the Law of Suspects to target, arrest and execute people that oppose the government in a shape or form; as a result, tens of thousands of people are killed in the years that followed

October 16, 1793: Less than 10 months after the execution of her husband King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette suffers the same gruesome fate as her husband did as she meets her death by guillotine

February 1794: Slavery in all French colonies gets outlawed by the National Assembly

July 27, 1794: Tyrant Robespierre is removed from power, bringing an end to his reign of terror

July 28, 1794: Maximilien de Robespierre is executed (by the guillotine) for all the heinous crimes he committed against the French people

May 8, 1794: Suspicions and accusations of treason gets thrown about frequently; some of victims to perish at the guillotine include chemist Antoine Lavoisier, a man largely seen as the “Father of modern chemistry”

July 14, 1795: The French government approves “La Marseillaise” as France’s national anthem

August 22, 1795: The National Convention approves a new constitution which creates a bicameral system of legislature.

November 2, 1975: The Committee of Public Safety is replaced with the Directory

November 9, 1799: Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power from the Directory and goes ahead to form the French Consulate; Napoleon’s grab of power in effect closes the curtain on the French Revolution

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