THE REVOLUTION AND AFTER Louis XVI became king in 1774. He and his wife, Marie Antoinette, lived in luxury. Meanwhile, ordinary people suffered. They did not have enough food and had to pay high taxes, so they were eager for a change in the way France was run.

The French Revolution Revolution came on July 14, 1789, when a mob stormed the Bastille prison in Paris. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and the First Republic was set up. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined in 1793. The following year became known as the Reign of Terror , when opponents of the new government were killed.

The mob that stormed the Bastille in 1789 was helped by a citizens’ army called the National Guard. They used muskets and cannons to attack the prison.

Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in 1799 and was made Emperor Napoleon I in 1804. He waged war against many countries, and built the Arc de Triomphe to mark his victories of 1805. But in 1814, Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia took over Paris. Napoleon was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Napoleon III The monarchy was restored after Napoleon’s defeat, but more revolutions in 1830 and 1848 led to the setting up of the Second Republic. Napoleon’s nephew, Louis-Napoleon, was elected president, but made himself Emperor Napoleon III. Together with Baron Haussmann, he transformed Paris, constructing many fine buildings.

Napoleon I as painted by Jacques Louis David. Napoleon came from the island of Corsica, but he trained to be a soldier at Paris’s Military School.


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