French Revolution Facts

French Revolution Facts
The French Revolution was a time of political and social rebellion in France that began in 1789 because of the inequalities that existed between the rich and poor. The French Revolution began on July 14th, 1789 when the people of France stormed the Bastille in Paris - a royal fort that had been converted to a prison. The revolution lasted until 1799, resulting in the abolition of the French royal family, a change in government, further armed conflicts with other countries in Europe, the execution of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and the beginning of Napoleon Bonaparte's reign in France.
Interesting French Revolution Facts:
Prior to the beginning of the French Revolution peasants were so poor and the cost of food so high that many starved to death. A loaf of bread was equal to a week's wages.
The rich were born rich - and vice versa. A person could not work to become wealthy - it could only happen by birth. The French Revolution changed this dismal fate for France's citizens.
While the poor in France were starving the wealthy lived a life of extravagance. This imbalance caused extreme resentment and anger. The poor had to pay taxes to the king while the rich did not.
When the French Revolution began and the Bastille was stormed on July 14th, 1789, only seven prisoners were found inside.
The French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille in search of gunpowder; they were not as interested in the prisoners.
Charles Dickens wrote a book that was set during the French Revolution titled A Tale of Two Cities.
Prior to the French Revolution, it was illegal to worship as a Protestant or as a Jew. These religions were illegal. After the Revolution people were free to follow these religions.
The French Revolution resulted in the freeing of 10,000 African slaves.
During the French Revolution many people were sent to The Guillotine to be beheaded. Many more were beheaded in the years following the French Revolution as well - in an era known as the 'Reign of Terror.'
It is estimated that as many as 40,000 people were executed at The Guillotine during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror that followed.
King Louis XVI was beheaded on January 12th, 1793. The charge that led to his execution suggested that he had conspired with Austria and Prussia, enemies of France at the time.
King Louis XVI's wife Marie Antoinette was seen by the people of France as someone who flaunted her wealth and privilege and this created a great deal of resentment towards her as well. She was eventually beheaded, just like her husband.
One of the main leaders of the French Revolution was Maximilien de Robespierre. He was known for sending his opponents and others to the Guillotine. In 1794 he was captured and beheaded himself.
In the years following Robespierre's execution Napoleon Bonaparte seized power of France.
France celebrates its Independence Day on July 14th each year with a parade on the Champs Elysees, followed by many other events and festivities such as dances, concerts and parties around the country.

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