French Revolution Timeline


Financial Crisis

1787 - 1789

France builds up big debt by participating in the Seven Years War and American Revolution.

Counter Revolution

1789 - 1815

The King, the 1st and 2nd estates, and multiple other groups revolt against the French Revolution.The French revolution paved the way for the secular system of governance that we now see governing most of the countries of the world. From the perspective of freeing the people from unjust monarchist regimes that committed all sorts of crimes under the banner of religion it can be seen as a successful and valiant effort on the part of the people.

Estates Generals

5 May 1789 - 23 June 1789

The assembly of the estates of all France, the last meeting was in 1789. The Estates General was the Legislative Branch in France made up of representatives from each of the 3 estates. In 1789, the fact that the Clergy and Nobles (1st and 2nd estates) could and were outvoting the 3rd estate was officially noticed.

Tennis Court Oath

17 June 1789 - 20 June 1789

The 577 members of the 3rd estate are locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General. 576 of the members then hold their own meeting on a tennis court. Signified the first time that French citizens formally stood in opposition to Louis XVI

Creation of National Assembly

June 17, 1789 - July 9, 1789

Made decisions for France when the Estates-General was disbanded and before the National Constituent Assembly was assembled.

Storming Bastille

14 July 1789 - 15 July 1789

The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France on the morning of 14 July 1789. The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the center of Paris. Paris, France: The massive, medieval prison, representing the royal authority of France, was torn to the ground by the 3rd estate.

Great Fear

7/19/1789 - 8/3/1789

The "Great Fear" occurred from July 20 to August 5, 1789 in France at the start of the French Revolution. Large peasant rebellions, directed towards the monarchical government, cause a subsequent general panic in the streets of France.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

20 September 1792 - 2 November 1795

This document of the French Revolution and in the history of human rights, defined the individual and collective rights of all the estates of the realm as universal. Inspired by the doctrine of "natural right", the rights of man are held to be universal valid at all times and in every place, pertaining to human nature itself. The French version of the Declaration of Independence is approved by the National Assembly. It is further edited in 1793.

Creation of National Convention

20 September 1792 - 26 October 1795

National Convention was elected to provide a new constitution for the country after the overthrow of the monarchy. The Convention numbered 749 deputies, including businessmen, tradesmen, and many professional men.

Execution of Louis XVI

21 January 1793 - 22 January 1793

The execution took place on 21 January 1793 at the Place de la Révolution in Paris. He was tried for high treason before the National Convention, found guilty by almost all, and condemned to death.

Reign of Terror

5 September 1793 - 28 July 1794

Put into effect by Robespierre; marked by mass executions of enemies of the revolution. The death toll ranged in the tens of thousands, with about 17,000 executed by guillotine and another 25,000 in other executions.

Important Napoleonic Reforms

21 March 1804

Napoleon took on the legal system of France. The system of laws was in a state of chaos. Laws were not codified and were based on Roman law, ancient custom or monarchial paternalism.

Napoleon's Rise to Power

18 May 1804 - 22 June 1815

Trained as an artillery officer, he wasgood at strategy and led two winning campaigns against rival armies. He then installed himself as the First Consul in 1799. 5 years later, the French Senate had named him Emperor of France.

Invasion of Russia

24 June 1812 - 14 December 1812

Napoleon leads France into a war against Russia. Napoleon’s ‘undefeated reputation" was severely damaged, and many of France’s allies start having second thoughts about him.

Exile to Elba

April 11, 1814

Napoleon abdicates the throne, and, in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba

Congress of Vienna

1 November 1814 - 8 June 1815

A group of ambassadors from European countries. The objective of the meetings were to solve the issues arising from the French Revolutionary and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.

Battle of Waterloo

18 June 1815

Present Day Belgium: A French Army, lead by Napoleon, is defeated by the 7th Coalition during their invasion of Prussia (Russia).