Execution of Louis XVI


  • Intro

    This account of French King Louis XVI's execution is from 'London Packet or New Lloyd's Evening Post', Wednesday, January 23, 1793. 


    The French Revolution of 1789 saw the overthrow of the King Louis XVI, and a Republic put in its place based on the ideals of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’ (the French for liberty, equality and brotherhood). This ground-breaking event shocked nations across the world.


    A new constitution was completed in 1791. Although the monarchy was still in place, an elected assembly held most of the power. Louis appeared to support the new constitution, but inwardly hoped the revolution would fail, and this was soon clear to the public as well. In June 1791 he tried to escape France, but was caught. His remaining credibility as a leader lost, Louis now hoped for a foreign invasion to crush the revolution and restore him to power, but it did not come. In November 1792, a secret cupboard containing proof of Louis’ counter-revolutionary beliefs and correspondence with foreign powers was discovered in Tuileries Palace. He was brought to trail for treason and executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793. His wife, Mary Antoinette, was executed in the same way nine months later.


    Shelfmark: British Library Newspapers

Find out more about the Execution of Louis XVI Here

Explore more timeline content: