On This Day In History: King Louis XVI Was Executed By Guillotine In Paris – On Jan 21, 1793

On January 21, 1793, King Louis XVI was executed by guillotine in the Place de la Revolution in Paris.

It happened one day after, the king was convicted of conspiracy with foreign powers. The French National Convention sentenced him to death.

Louis ascended to the French throne in 1774 and from the start, he was confronted with the serious financial problems that he had inherited from his grandfather, King Louis XV.

In 1789, in the last attempt to resolve his country’s financial crisis, Louis assembled the States-General, a national assembly that represented the three “estates” of the French people–the nobles, the clergy, and the commons.

On July 14, 1789, violence erupted when Parisians stormed the Bastille–a state prison where they believed ammunition was stored and the situation became even worse. By June 1791, opposition to the royal pair had become so fierce that the two were forced to flee to Austria. During their trip, they were taken into custody at Varennes, France, and carried back to Paris.

In August 1792, the royal couple was arrested and imprisoned; in November, evidence of Louis XVI’s counterrevolutionary intrigues with Austria and other foreign nations was discovered; the king was put on trial for treason by the National Convention.

The next January, Louis was convicted and condemned to death by a narrow majority.

The king’s last words were:

“I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I pardon those who have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are going to shed may never be visited on France.”

On January 21, he was executed. Nine months later, Marie Antoinette was convicted of treason by a tribunal, and on October 16 she followed her husband to the guillotine.

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