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The French Revolution Facts and Timeline

The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France from 1789 to 1799. This pamphlet lists the most interesting facts about the French Revolution, including who took part in it and who led it differently.

This is a list of some interesting facts about the French revolution with quick explanations as to what caused them, what happened during it, and which varieties of this historical moment there were. The events in the list are in chronological order.

Historians and academics disagree when it comes to determining what started the French Revolution. To some extent, it started because France’s economic and intellectual development was not matched by social and political change. In the fixed order of the ancient regime, the most bourgeois were unable to exercise commensurate political and social influence. Moreover, King Louis XIV had destroyed the roots of feudalism, yet outward feudal forms persisted and became increasingly burdensome. Either way, the timeline and fun facts about the French Revolution outlined below outline the political upheaval that ended with the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy in France and marked a watershed in European history.

Timeline of the French Revolution

October 18, 1598– Henry IV made a law allowing religious tolerance called the Edict of Nantes.

1661– Louis XIV spent over $100 million to build the Versailles Palace.

April 13, 1685– Louis XIV abolished the Edict of Nantes, which caused many Huguenots to flee France

1715– Louis XIV died leaving his country in debt from the money he spent supporting the arts.

1740– The War of Austrian Succession caused the monarchy to fall heavily into debt.

1756– Start of the Seven Years’ War, which compounded the debt situation.

1772– A second revolution occurs, as Jacobins and sansculottes force the creation of a French Republic. The new National Convention replaces the Legislative Assembly.

1774– Louis XV died, leaving an even more significant debt from all of France’s wars during his reign.

1775– Start of the American War of Independence

1778– France declares war against Great Britain in support of the American colonies. The subsequent war worsens the debt situation further.

1789– French peasants were mad because of an unfair tax system and a poor harvest in 1788.

May 5, 1789– Louis XVI called Estates-General to a meeting in Versailles to approve a tax plan.

June 17, 1789– The Third Estate declared itself the National Assembly and made the Tennis Court Oath.

July 14, 1789– The people of Paris stormed Bastille.

August 4, 1789– The National Assembly announced the end of feudalism and serfdom in France.

August 27, 1789– The National Assembly issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

October 5, 1789– Paris women invaded Versailles.

1790– The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy Demands priests to take an oath of loyalty to the state, splitting the clergy between jurying and non-juring priests.

1791– The Constitution of 1791 was adopted.

March 10, 1791– Pope Pius VI condemns the Civil Constitution of the Clergy

June 20, 1791– Louis XVI and his family tried to flee France but were arrested.

September 30, 1791– Dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly

April 20, 1792– France declared war on Austria.

September 1792– The National Convention held its first meeting.

September 3–7, 1772– The September Massacres of prisoners in the Paris prisons.

January 21, 1793– Louis XVI sentenced to the guillotine.

April 6, 1793– Committee of Public Safety established.

June 24, 1973– Ratification of new Constitution by National Convention, but not yet proclaimed. Slavery was abolished in France until 1802.

August 1793– A national draft called for all non-disabled men to join the army.

September 1793 to July 1794– The Reign of Terror court sentenced 20,000 to 40,000 people to death.

March 28, 1774– Death of philosopher and mathematician Marquis de Condorcet in prison.

July 27, 1794– The National Convention arrested Robespierre.

July 28, 1794– Robespierre was beheaded.

1795– A new Constitution was adopted.

July 14, 1795– Marseillaise accepted as the French National Anthem.

February 1798– Roman Republic proclaimed

April 1798– Helvetian Republic proclaimed

May 11, 1798– Law of 22 Floréal Year VI – Council elections annulled, left-wing deputies excluded from Council.

July 21, 1798– Battle of the Pyramids

August 1, 1798– Battle of the Nile – Nelson’s victory isolates Napoleon in Egypt.

December 24, 1798– Alliance between Russia and Britain

October 9, 1799– Napoleon returns to France

December 24, 1799– Constitution of the Year VIII – leadership of Napoleon established under the Consulate. French Revolution may be considered ended.