This Day in History – December 11th, 1792

Today we hitchhike a ride on the time vortex to France and the year 1792. About two and a half years earlier the French Revolution had erupted with the storming of the Bastille, but this day in 1792 saw the trial of King Louis XVI of France on charges of treason.

Louis XVI

Louis XVI ascended to the throne in 1774, and the first part of his reign was marked by attempts to reform France in accordance with Enlightenment ideals. These included efforts to abolish serfdom, remove the taille, and increase tolerance toward non-Catholics. The French nobility reacted to the proposed reforms with hostility, and successfully opposed their implementation; increased discontent among the common people ensued. From 1776 Louis XVI actively supported the North American colonists, who were seeking their independence from Great Britain, which was realized in the 1783 Treaty of Paris.

In a context of civil and international war, Louis XVI was suspended and arrested at the time of the insurrection of August 10th, 1792 one month before the constitutional monarchy was abolished and the First French Republic proclaimed on September 21st 1792. He was tried by the National Convention (self-instituted as a tribunal for the occasion), found guilty of high treason, and executed by guillotine on January 21st, 1793 as a desacralized French citizen known as “Citizen Louis Capet”, a nickname in reference to Hugh Capet, the founder of the Capetian dynasty – which the revolutionaries interpreted as Louis’ family name. Louis XVI is the only King of France ever to be executed, and his death brought an end to more than a thousand years of continuous French monarchy.

Flourish 3

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