French Revolution Timeline

The beginning of the modern history of Europe is marked by the French Revolution. It uprooted the feudal system as well as the rule of the monarch. This revolution started in the year 1789 when Louis XVI was the king of France and end with the levitation of Napoleon Bonaparte.

France was a prosperous country in the 18th century, but it had a problem collecting taxes because of the structure of society. The people with the money nobles and clergy never paid the taxes. By 1789, France was deeply in debt.

The nobles and clergy were enjoying all the special privileges of the country while the commoners were living in poverty and misery. 

The end of the French Revolution abolished Monarchy From France and the country evolved to be more democratic.

All these events were of high significance in the history of not only France but also the entire world. Which event do you think was the most impactful? 

Content

French Revolution Timeline

1789
January 4

January 24 – Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General

1789-January 24 - Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General

In 1789-January 24  Louis XVI summons the Estates-General for the meeting. The last such meeting was held in 1614. Estate Generals were occasionally called for a meeting, during crisis or times of war.  Many thought ...

Read moreJanuary 24 – Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General

May 5

May 5 – Estates-General convenes

May 5 – Estates-General convenes

A national assembly had evolved from the third estate, which was broken down. Maximum representation was from the third estate which combined all of France except the clergy and the nobility which were in the ...

Read moreMay 5 – Estates-General convenes

June 11

July 11 – Louis dismisses Necker, a popular minister

July 11 – Louis dismisses Necker, a popular minister

Jacques Necker was the financial advisor of Louis XVI. With the formation of the national assembly, their demand was the end of the monarchy rule which was not accepted by Louis.  He asked Necker to ...

Read moreJuly 11 – Louis dismisses Necker, a popular minister

June 20

June 20 – The “Tennis Court Oath”

June 20 – The “Tennis Court Oath”

The third estate was underprivileged in the court. The apathy of the court and the manipulations led them to form a national assembly. Since the court of Versailles was unavailable for their meeting, the third ...

Read moreJune 20 – The “Tennis Court Oath”

July 14

July 14 – Storming of the Bastille

July 14 – Storming of the Bastille

Bastille had its military governor named Bernard- Rene Jordan de Launay. On the turmoil of the revolution, he thought of reinforcing his fortress to save himself.  He started transferring 250 barrels of gunpowder. A group ...

Read moreJuly 14 – Storming of the Bastille

August 4

August 4 -Abolition of feudal (noble, clerical) rights

August 4 -Abolition of feudal (noble, clerical) rights

Louis XVI accepted the proposal of the constitution and the National Assembly. A law was implemented which eliminated the feudal system of taxes and debts.  With this abolition, the clergy was asked to surrender its ...

Read moreAugust 4 -Abolition of feudal (noble, clerical) rights

August 26

August 26- Declaration of the Rights of Man

August 26- Declaration of the Rights of Man

Marquis de Lafayette drafted the declaration of the rights of man which was presented to the national assembly.  The law was drafted to ensure the rights of the individuals that led to the end of ...

Read moreAugust 26- Declaration of the Rights of Man

October 5

October 5-6 – the Wives’ March; Louis “kidnapped” back to Paris

October 5-6 – the Wives’ March; Louis “kidnapped” back to Paris

Hunger had stricken in the Versailles. A rumor had spread that there was stock of flour with the king and the queen during those days of famine. Knowing this, many Parisian women marched towards Versailles ...

Read moreOctober 5-6 – the Wives’ March; Louis “kidnapped” back to Paris

1790
May 19

May 19 –National Assembly abolished the nobility

May 19 –National Assembly abolished the nobility

All privileges to the nobility were abolished. Titles like knight, duke, etc. were also withdrawn.  One could only take the real name from his family. Wearing a coat of arms or livery was not permitted. ...

Read moreMay 19 –National Assembly abolished the nobility

July 12

July 12- Civil Constitution of the French Clergy

July 12- Civil Constitution of the French Clergy

The main intention behind passing this law was to decrease the number of bishops in the churches. It was based upon the territorial administration of the bishops since during the revolution the area of the churches ...

Read moreJuly 12- Civil Constitution of the French Clergy

November 27

November 27- Clergy instruct to swear allegiance to France

November 27- Clergy instruct to swear allegiance to France

Since the parliaments were abolished in September, the City of Lyons witnessed many civil riots. Many bishops were converted to the clergy. Clergy were basically the ones who had pledged loyalty on the nation.  During ...

Read moreNovember 27- Clergy instruct to swear allegiance to France

1791
March 10

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

March 10- Pope Pius VI condemns the Civil Constitution of the Clergy

There was opposition to the oath within the clergy. This created a crisis of conscience.  Amongst those, the ones who took the oath were named as constitutional clergy. August 4 had nullified the rights of ...

Read moreMarch 10 – Pope Pius VI condemns the Civil Constitution of the Clergy

June 20

June 20-21 Louis and Marie Antoinette flee; captured at Varennes

Arrest Of Louis XVI & His Family At House Of Registrar of Passpo

Post the march on Versailles, the king left the right to decisions to the queen. The king’s residence at Tuileries was more like a prison to him.  He believed that he had loyal across the ...

Read moreJune 20-21 Louis and Marie Antoinette flee; captured at Varennes

August 3

September 3 – New constitution ratified (with the support of Louis)

September 3 – New constitution ratified (with the support of Louis)

This constitution was drafted by the National Assembly. The king of France was now known as the King of French.  In zest, the constitution was drafted to revise the role of the king. Monarchy was ...

Read moreSeptember 3 – New constitution ratified (with the support of Louis)

August 27

August 27- Declaration of Pillinitz: Austria and Prussia express support for Louis

August 27- Declaration of Pillinitz- Austria and Prussia express support for Louis

In an attempt to restore the monarchy in France, the Roman emperor and the King of Prussia joined together. Their urge was to unite the European powers as they feared that similar unrest might evolve ...

Read moreAugust 27- Declaration of Pillinitz: Austria and Prussia express support for Louis

1792
April 20

April 20- France declares war on Austria

April 20- France declares war on Austria

The revolutionaries had the intention of spreading their idea across Europe and wanted to unite the world.  Whereas, on the other hand, Austria wanted the monarch rule in France because of the feared of the ...

Read moreApril 20- France declares war on Austria

April 25

April 25 – First use of the guillotine

April 25 – First use of the guillotine

The guillotine was the machine used for execution in France. This machine could effectively behead a person with minimal time. It was first used on a highwayman named Nicolas Jacques Pettetier since he was guilty ...

Read moreApril 25 – First use of the guillotine

June 13

June 13 –Prussia declares war on France

June 13 –Prussia declares war on France

The third estate French were not happy with the declaration of Pillnitz, issued in 1979. So, the moment Girondists obtained power, France declared war on Austria. Seeing their advancement, Prussia declared war on France.

August 8

August 9 – Paris Commune established

August 9 - Paris Commune established

The municipal government of Paris was known as Paris Commune. This commune looked after the civil functions during the time of revolution. The commune was executed by the urban bourgeoisie along with liberal moderates. But ...

Read moreAugust 9 – Paris Commune established

August 10

August 10- Parisians storm Tuileries palace; end of Louis XVI’s power

August 10- Parisians storm Tuileries palace; end of Louis XVI’s power

The movement of democracy in France was influenced by the Paris Commune. On August 10th, a mob of Parisians and National Guard invaded the Tuileries, as the urge to end the monarch rule was very ...

Read moreAugust 10- Parisians storm Tuileries palace; end of Louis XVI’s power

September 20

September 20 – French cannons drive back Prussians at Valmy

French cannons drive back Prussians at Valmy

Popularly known as the Battle of Valmy, it was a major victory of the French during the revolution. It is known to be the war of the first coalition. This war was executed as the troop ...

Read moreSeptember 20 – French cannons drive back Prussians at Valmy

October 21

August 10- Parisians Storm Tuileries Palace; End Of Louis XVI’s Power

1792, September 21- French Republic proclaimed

With the capture of Louis XVI, the monarchy did not exist in France. King Louis was declared guilty and was executed on January 21st, 1793. On September 22, the first republic for France, known as ...

Read moreAugust 10- Parisians Storm Tuileries Palace; End Of Louis XVI’s Power

1793
January 21

1793 January 21- Louis XVI executed

1793 January 21- Louis XVI executed

King Louis and Antoinette were captured from Varennes. The king was put to trial by the mob. A narrow majority found them guilty and were convicted to death. They were executed on this date.

February 1

February 1 –France declares war on Britain and Netherlands

1973, February 1 –France declares war on Britain and Netherlands

After the execution of the royal couple, Portugal and Spain entered into an anti-French coalition. This led to the declaration of war on February 1st

April 6

April 6- Committee of Public safety founded

April 6- Committee of Public safety founded

The National Commission elected the committee of public safety whose main aim was the protection of France from its enemies. The French government had the dictatorial control virtually by this committee. 

June 24

June 24- New Constitution Proclamation

1793, June 24- New Constitution Proclamation

The National Convention had come up with the new constitution which was put before the public on June 24th and was to be implemented.

August 12

August 12- Mass conscription instituted

August 12- Mass conscription instituted

It was established by the committee of public safety known as Levee en Masse.

September 5

October 5- Republican calendar adopted

October 5- Republican calendar adopted

This calendar lasted for 12 years and was later on removed by Napoleon. This calendar is also known as the French Revolution calendar.

October 16

October 16- Marie Antoinette executed

Marie Antoinette executed

After the abolition of the monarchy, Queen Marie Antoinette was put to trial on 14 October and was convicted of high treason. After the hearing, she was executed by the guillotine on October 16.

1794
July 28

July 28 – Robespierre guillotined

Robespierre guillotined

He is considered to be the architect of terror in France during the time of revolution. He was a French lawyer and belonged to the Third Estate. He was not in favour of the execution. ...

Read moreJuly 28 – Robespierre guillotined

There are many factors that were involved in it. This is the brief of the timeline which has been designed to help you with your understanding about it. The critical events during this revolution have been listed below:

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Cite this article as: Richard Marrison, "French Revolution Timeline," in HistoryTen, October 10, 2020, https://historyten.com/french-revolution/french-revolution-timeline/.
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