The French Revolution and Napoleon: a timeline

  • Period: to

    National Constituent Assembly (1789-1791)

    The French Assemblée Nationale was the revolutionary assembly formed by representatives of the Third Estate from June 17 to July 9, 1789. It was replaced by the Legislative Assembly on September 30,1791 and then the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée Nationale Constituante). It would also be relevant for the Third Republic, the Fourth Republic and the Fifth Republic, when it was abolished.
  • Formal opening of the Estates General

    Formal opening of the Estates General
    On the 5th of May, also known as the start of the French Revolution was the day of the opening of the Estates General in Versailles, during which the king announced the introduction of new taxes. The people, already having been fed up, had finally had enough
  • Tennis Court Oath

    Tennis Court Oath
    On june 17 the Third Estate (non-priviledged French class) were locked out of their usual meeting with the representative assembly of the three estates, so they went to a tennis court where they vowed to keep meeting as the National Assembly until a written constitution had been established. On June 27 King Louis XVI finally ordered the clergy and the nobility to join with the Third Estate in the National Assembly.
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille
    An event in which a riot made up of Parisian workers attacked the Bastille building, which at the time was a prison and a symbol of absolute monarchy made against the English people during the Hundred Years War. This event is considered to have been a decisive step in the French Revolution.
  • The August Decrees

    The August Decrees
    Nineteen articles issued on the 4 of August of 1789 by the National Constituent Assembly during the French Revolution. The decrees were made to abolish feudalism, as the National Constituent Assembly wanted to prove its dedication to the people, the nobles even going as far as to renounce to their privileges. Thanks to these decrees the Ancient Regime ended and paved the way for a future system where all citizens would be equal.
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

    The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
    A human civil rights document consisting of 17 documents which was set by the French National Constituent Assembly in 1789. It was inspired by the doctrine of "natural right" as well as the Enlightenment and Rousseau's teachings, it served as affirmation of the values of the French Revolution, impacting the development of liberty and democracy everywhere.
  • Period: to

    Legislative Assembly

    The Legislative Assembly was the national parliament of France during the Revolutionary and Second Republic periods. It was created in 1791 and replaced by the National Convention in 1792. Napoleon III dissolved it in 1851, ending the republic shortly after.
  • The flight to Varennes

    The flight to Varennes
    The Flight to Varennes was a key event in the French Revolution, where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette attempted to flee Paris with their kids on the night of 21 of June. The National Constituent assembly tried to make it seem as if he was kidnapped, but the truth could not be hidden and the wrath and distrust of the public increased drastically. It became the second major push towards the French Revolution.
  • Period: to

    National Convention

    The National Convention was an elected assembly that governed France from September 20,1792, until October 26,1795, during the most critical period of the French Revolution. It numbered 749 deputies and its acts included the formal abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the republic.
  • Period: to

    1st French Republic

    The French Republic, also known as the First Republic in French history, was established on September 21, 1792, at the height of the French Revolution. Napoleon's proclamation of the First Empire in 1804 marked the end of the First Republic.
    The National Convention's establishment and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the establishment of the Directory, and, finally, the foundation of the Consulate and Napoleon's ascent to power, all occurred during this time period.
  • The Assembly declares war on Austria

    The Assembly declares war on Austria
    Fearing that the revolution would spread to other nations, the Austrian and Prussian kings encouraged other European kings to use force to restore the French monarchy on August 27, 1791. The goal of the Girondins was to protect the Revolution in France while also spreading it throughout Europe. The Legislative Assembly, offended by this threat, declared war on Austria on April 20, 1792.
  • Storming of the Tuileries Palace

    Storming of the Tuileries Palace
    A defining moment in the French Revolution in which the palace was destroyed by a massive riot of members of the working class (sans-culottes) on 20 June 1792 who aimed to depose the ing. They went to the king, not using violence but humiliating him, although he responded calmly and interacted with them, showing he was unafraid.
  • Execution of Louis XVI

    Execution of Louis XVI
    The execution of Louis XVI was witnessed on January 1793 at the Place de la Révolution in Paris after a majority of parisians convicted and condemned him to death. Marie Antoinette followed him nine months later after being convicted of treason.
  • Execution of Robespierre

    Execution of Robespierre
    A series of events (The Coup of 9 Thermidor) were what led to his execution by guillotine on July 28,1793, a year after being elected to the Committee of Public Safety.
    He was a big ally to the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, having encouraged the execution of thousands of enemies of the Revolution. After his death the Committee of Public Safety lost its authority and bourgeois values, corruption, and military failure returned.
  • Period: to


    The french Directoire was a four-year government established in 1795-1799 during the Reign of Terror which contained the Corps Législatif (the legislature in france from 1795 to 1814). It was established by the Constitution of the Year III. It was made up of the Council of Five Hundred (men 30 years old or older), they proposed legislation, and the Council of Ancients (men 40 years or older) which had the power to accept or decline the propositions. It was abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Period: to

    The Napoleonic Era

    The Napoleonic era was the period of time during which Napoleon Bonaparte was in a position of power over France, known as the final stage of the French Revolution. In 1799 he was appointed First Consul after leading a coup d’état. He then overthrew the Directory, established the French Consulate... The era ends with his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (18 of June 1815).
  • Period: to

    The Consulate

    Government of France established after the fall of the Directory (Coup of 18–19 Brumaire) on 10 November 1799 until 18 May 1804 (start of the Napoleonic Empire).The Constitution of the Year VIII established that the power must be in the hands of hree consuls, but all the power was held by the first consulate, Napoleon Bonaparte. While the legistlative branch was discarded, this executive branch had the power to make new laws. Napoleón himself ended the Consulate when he became Emperor in 1804.
  • Period: to

    The Empire

    It lasted for two brief periods:18 May 1804 to 3 May 1814 and again briefly from 20 March 1815 to 7 July 1815 The French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic following the French Revolution, despite the country already having a colonial empire abroad since the early 17th century.
  • Battle of Trafalgar

    Battle of Trafalgar
    During the War of the Third Coalition (which lasted from August to December of 1805) of the Napoleonic Wars (lasting from 1803 to 1815), the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies engaged in battle on October 21,1805.
  • Battle of Austerlitz

    Battle of Austerlitz
    The Battle of Austerlitz was one of the most significant battles of the Napoleonic Wars, also commonly known as the Battle of the Three Emperors. In the battle, which took place near Austerlitz in Moravia, the troops of Napoleon took down the Russians and Austrians.
  • Battle of Leipzig

    Battle of Leipzig
    The Battle of Leipzig, commonly referred to as the Battle of the Nations, took place at Leipzig, Saxony, from October 16 to 19 in 1813. The Grande Armée of Napoleon Bonaparte was wiped out by the coalition forces of Austria, Prussia, Sweden and Russia, under the command of Tsar Alexander I and Karl von Schwarzenberg.
  • Battle of Waterloo

    Battle of Waterloo
    Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815) ended 23 years of hostilities between France and the other European nations. It was fought between Napoleon's 72,000 soldiers and the combined forces of the duke of Wellington's allied army and 45,000 Prussians.