french revolution timeline

  • meeting with the Estates-General

    The Estates-General gathered to resolve the financial crisis of the French monarchy after a 170 year gap, with representatives from the three estates. The division of votes led to the formation of the National Assembly, which represented the people of France, and caused a revolution against the monarchy.
  • Tennis Court Oath

    The Tennis Court Oath was taken in 1789 by members of the French Estates-General who were disappointed in the lack of progress made in creating a new constitution. They pledged to continue meeting until a new constitution was formed. The Oath marked a pivotal point in the French Revolution, and the Constitution of 1791 eventually fulfilled the Oath's promise by limiting the monarchy's power and establishing a constitutional government in France.
  • Storming of the Bastille

    The Storming of the Bastille occurred on 14 July 1789 in Paris and was a symbolic event of the French Revolution. A vast crowd of French citizens invaded and took control of the Bastille, a fortress-prison that symbolized royal oppression. The capture of the Bastille signified a turning point in the revolution and represented the French citizens' power to challenge and overthrow an unjust regime. The event was essential for the French monarchy's overthrow and the formation of a republic.
  • Women's March on Versailles

    The Women's March on Versailles was a event in the French Revolution that occurred on October 5, 1789. Women from Paris marched twelve miles to Versailles, demanding that King Louis XVI address the country's economic problems and reduce the price of bread. The women also demanded the king return with them to Paris to ensure he would address their grievances. The king eventually agreed, and the march had profound consequences, including the forced relocation of the royal family to Paris.
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man

    The Declaration of the Rights of Man was a document adopted by the National Assembly of France in August 1789. It enumerated the basic rights and freedoms of all French citizens, including the equality of all before the law, freedom of speech and press, and the right to property. The Declaration played a key role in the French Revolution, serving as a model for other nations and inspiring future documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Execution of King Louis XVI

    The execution of King Louis XVI was a defining moment in the French Revolution. Louis XVI's policies had fueled resentment among the lower classes, and his trial and execution were highly controversial. The shocked reactions of foreign powers heightened hostility towards the revolution. The event led to further polarization of revolutionary factions, paving the way for the radical phase and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. The execution was symbolic of the monarchy's breakdown.
  • Reign of Terror

    The Reign of Terror was a climactic period of state-sanctioned violence during the French Revolution, which saw the public executions and mass killings of thousands of counter-revolutionary suspects
  • End of the Reign of Terror

    Robespierre was arrested and executed as were many of his fellow Jacobins
  • Napoleonic Code is established

    made the authority of men over their families stronger, deprived women of any individual rights, and reduced the rights of illegitimate children.
  • Napoleon Crowns himself emperor

    Napoleon crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I at Notre Dame de Paris. According to legend, during the coronation he snatched the crown from the hands of Pope Pius VII and crowned himself, thus displaying his rejection of the authority of the Pontiff.
  • Peninsular War

    the British Army fought a war in the Iberian Peninsula against the invading forces of Napoleon's France.
  • Napoleon and his men march on Russia

    Through a series of long forced marches, Napoleon pushed his army of almost half a million people rapidly through Western Russia, now Belarus, in an attempt to destroy the separated Russian armies of Barclay de Tolly and Pyotr Bagration who amounted to around 180,000–220,000 at that time.
  • Napoleon is exiled to Elba

    After Napoleon Bonaparte's disastrous campaign in Russia ended in defeat, they forced him into exile from Elba.
  • End of Peninsular War

    the British Army fought a war in the Iberian Peninsula against the invading forces of Napoleon's France.
  • Napoleon dies

    Napoleon dies
    He reconciled with the Catholic Church after a most tumultuous relationship (which had included at one point kidnapping the pope), and made his confession and took the final sacraments. On May 5, 1821 he passed away at age 51.
  • Maximillian Robespierre's execution

    Robespierre and a number of his followers were arrested at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. The next day Robespierre and 21 of his followers were taken to the Place de la Révolution (now the Place de la Concorde), where they were executed by guillotine before a cheering crowd.