The French Revolution

A timeline of the French Revolution by Dyson Chmura


Great Fear

1787 - 1799

Rural unrest had been present in France since the worsening grain shortage of the spring, and the grain supplies were now guarded by local militias due to rumors that bands of armed men were roaming the countryside.

Financial Crisis

1787 - 1789

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

Estates General


a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm: the clergy (First Estate), the nobles (Second Estate), and the common people (Third Estate).

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen


Was a fundamental document of the French Revolution and in the history of human rights, defining the individual and collective rights of all the estates of the realm as universal.

Tennis Court Oath


Was a pivotal event during the first days of the French Revolution. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on 20 June 1789. The only person who did not sign was Joseph Martin-Dauch, a politician who would not execute decisions not sanctioned by the king.

Counter Revolution


was composed of various groups both in and outside of France who were opposed to the French Revolution and actively sought to change its course.

Creation of National Assembly

June 17, 1789 - July 9, 1789

Was a transitional body between the Estates-General and the National Constituent Assembly.

Storming Bastille

14 July 1789

The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the center of Paris.

Creation of National Convention

September 20, 1792 - October 26, 1795

It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic. It was succeeded by the Directory, commencing 2 November 1795.

Execution of Louis XVI

21 January 1793

It was a major event of the French Revolution. After events on the 10 August 1792, which saw the fall of the monarchy after the attack on the Tuileries by insurgents, Louis was arrested, interned in the Temple prison with his family, tried for high treason before the National Convention, found guilty by almost all (and 'not guilty' by none), and condemned to death by a slight majority.

Reign of Terror

September 5, 1793 - July 28, 1794

Was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of the revolution"

Napoleon’s Rise to Power


Bonaparte was known as an excellent strategist who had gained the respect of his men through bravery and courage under fire, meticulous planning and an unconventional approach to warfare.

Invasion of Russia


Was a turning point during the Napoleonic Wars. It reduced the French and allied invasion forces (the Grande Armée) to a tiny fraction of their initial strength and triggered a major shift in European politics as it dramatically weakened French hegemony in Europe.

Exile to Elba


In the Treaty of Fontainebleau, the victors exiled him to Elba, an island of 12,000 inhabitants in the Mediterranean, 20 km off the Tuscan coast. They gave him sovereignty over the island and allowed him to retain his title of emperor.

Congress of Vienna

September 1814 - June 1815

Was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna.

Battle of Waterloo

June 18, 1815

Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. An Imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher.