France History Timeline


June 18, Battle of Waterloo



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June 18, Battle of Waterloo

  • June 22, Napoleon abdicated a second time.

  • July 7, After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, the victorious Allies marched into Paris.

  • July 9, King Louis XVIII left Ghent for France.

  • July 15, Napoleon was captured by the British Navy at Rochefort, France, while attempting to escape to America.

  • Aug 8, Napoleon set sail for St. Helena,

  • Oct 7, Marshal Ney, was condemned to death and shot for having left the services of the King.

  • Oct 13, Joachim Murat, marshal of France and King of Naples (1808-15), was executed.

  • Oct 17, Napoleon (d.1821) arrived in St. Helena.

  • Nov 20, The treaties known collectively as the 2nd Peace of Paris were concluded.

    1816 Jan 12, France decreed the Bonaparte family to be excluded from the country forever.

    • Sep 5, Louis XVIII of France dissolved the chamber of deputies, which had been challenging his authority.

    • France adopted the Paris meridian as the standard clock time for the country. Sundials were used up to this time.

    1821 May 5, Napoleon , emperor France (1799-1815), died

    1821 Aug 19, There was a failed liberal coup against French King Louis XVIII.

    1823 April French invasion of Spain:

    1825 May 20, Charles X became King of France.

    1825 June 20, Coronation of French king Charles X, the surviving brother of guillotined Louis XVI.

    1825 Gendarmerie Coloniale, for law enforcement across its colonial empire.

    1827 Oct 20, British, French and Russian squadrons entered Navarino, Greece, and destroyed most of the Egyptian fleet.

    1827 The first Egyptian Museum was housed in the Louvre’s Cour Caree

    1830 July 5, The French occupied the North African city of Algiers.


    • July 26, King Charles X of France issued five ordinances limiting the political and civil rights of citizens.

    • July 27, A second Revolution broke out in Paris opposing the laws of Charles X.

    • July 28, July Revolution or French Revolution of 1830

    • July 29, Liberals led by the Marquis of Lafayette seized Paris

    • July 31, Charles X of France was forcibly ejected

    • Aug 9, Louis Philippe (d.1850) formally accepted the crown of France,

    • Henry Philip Hope purchased the 45 carot blue diamond. It later the "Hope Diamond."

    1831 Nov 22 First Canut revolt: first clearly defined worker uprising of the Industrial Revolution.

    1832 June 5, insurrection took place during General Lamarque's funeral

    1832 Honore Daumier, French artist, was imprisoned for 6 months for his barbs against King Louis-Philippe.

    1834 May 20, Lafayette died.

    1835 July 28, King Louis Philippe survived an assassination attempt

    1835 FAlexis de Tocqueville (25) wrote "Democracy in America."

    1835 The French government prohibited political caricature.

    1836 July 6, French General Thomas Bugeaud defeated Abd al-Kader's forces beside the Sikkak River in Algeria.

    1836 Nov 6, Charles X (79), King of France (1824-30), died.

    1836 Nov 10, Louis Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon , failed in coup at Strasbourg

    1836 The 107-foot-tall Egyptian Obelisk reached Paris.

    1838 Nov 30, Mexico declared war on France.

    1838 Frederic Chopin, began a volatile affair with French novelist George Sand.

    1838 France agreed to reduce Haiti's 1825 "debt" to 60 million fold francs to be paid over 30 years.

    1839 March 9 French troops withdraw from Mexico after their demands were satisfied.

    1839 Parisian tailors revolted and destroyed the new sewing machines.

    1844 Lefevre, engaged in a plot with other priests to overthrow Thieu Tri, the emperor of Cochin China (later Vietnam).

    1845 Sep 8 A French column surrendered at Sidi Brahim in the Algerian War.

    1848 Feb 24 Feb Revolution or French Revolution of 1848:



    • Feb 26 Second French Republic was proclaimed. [see Feb 24]

    • April 27 Slave trade was abolished in the French colonies.

    • April 28 The last slaves in French colonies were freed.

    • June 23, A bloody insurrection of workers in Paris

    • July 26, The French army suppressed the Paris uprising.

    • Nov 21, Alfred de Musset's "Andre del Sarto," premiered in Paris.

    • Dec 10, Napoleon III, Louis Napoleon (nephew of Napoleon ), was elected president of France.

    • Dec 20 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte starts his term as the first president of the French Republic.

    • France abolished slavery. Victor Schoelcher was a major force in the abolition of slavery in France.

    1849 April 30, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian republican patriot and guerrilla leader, repulsed a French attack on Rome.

    • Alphonse Karr, French: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

    • Victor Hugo addressed an appeal for European unity to Germany, France and Russia.

    • The Minie ball

    1851 Nov 2, Louis Napoleon staged a coup and took power in France as Napoleon III of the Second Empire.

    • 1851 Nov 13, The London-to-Paris telegraph opened.

    • 1851 Dec 4, Pres. Louis Napoleon forces crushed a coup d'etat in France.

    1852 Dec 2, Louis Napoleon, the little nephew of Napoleon , established the Second Empire in France

    1852 France established its penal colony at Devil’s Island, French Guiana.

    1853 Jan 19, Napoleon III married Eugenie de Montijo.


    • July, Supported by Britain, the Turks took a firm stand against the Russians

    • The island of New Caledonia was made a French possession.

    1854 March 28, During the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.

    • Sep 14, Allied armies, including those of Britain & France, landed in Crimea.

    • Oct 25, During the Crimean War, Charge of the Light Brigade,

    • Nov 5, The British and French defeated the Russians at Inkerman, Crimea.

    1855 June 17, Heavy French-British shelling of Sebastopol killed over 2000.

    1856 March 30, Russia signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Crimean War.

    1856 Napoleon III decided to quell an impending revolt in Algeria by sending a magician,

    1857 March 3, Under pretexts, Britain and France declared war on China.

    1858 Jan 14, Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie escaped unhurt assassin attempt.

    1858 Feb 11, vision of the Virgin Mary near Lourdes.

    1859 April 29, In the Italian Campaign


    • May 3, France declared war on Austria.

    • May 9, Austrian army retreated across the River Sesia in Italy.

    • May 10, French emperor Napoleon III left Paris

    • May 28, French army launched a flanking attack on the Austrian army

    • June 2, French forces crossed the Ticino River,

    • June 4, The French army under Napoleon III took Magenta

    • June 24, Battle of Solferino,

    • July 8, signing of the truce at Villafranca

    1860 Oct 12, British and French troops captured Beijing.

    • Oct 18 Second Opium War: British and French troops entered the Forbidden City in Beijing.

    • Savoy was ceded to France.

    • France sent 5,000 troops to Syria to stop the massacre of Maronite Christians at the hands of the Druze,

    • The 1st French gendarmes arrived in Vietnam.

    1861 Dec, French, British and Spanish troops landed at Veracruz, Mexico,

    1862 May 5, Battle of Pueblo,



    • June 24, U.S. intervention saved the British and French at the Dagu forts in China.

    • Victor Hugo published "Les Miserables."

    1863 June 7, Mexico City was captured by French troops.

    • Jules Verne (1828-1905) authored his novel “Five Weeks in a Balloon.” This was his first published book.

    • French forces captured Puebla, Mexico.

    1864 April 19, Naval Engagement at Cherbourg, France: USS Kearsarge vs. CSS Alabama.

    • June 19, The CSS "Alabama" was sunk by the USS "Kearsarge" off Cherbourg, France.

    • Sep 5, British, French & Dutch fleets attacked Japan in Shimonoseki Straits.

    1865 May 17, The International Telegraph Union, was set up in Paris

    1865 Dec 23, France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union (LMU).

    1866 May 18, French Government of De Putte resigned.


    • May 31 French intervention in Mexico: French troops start withdrawing from the country.

    • French colonial officials sent an expedition to explore the Mekong River

    1867 April 1, International Exhibition, Exposition Universelle, opened in Paris.

    1868 The first known bicycle race was held in Paris.

    1869 April, France’s Emp. Louis Napoleon ordered the dissolution of the Public Works Fund.

    1869 Nov 17, The Suez Canal was opened in Egypt,

    1870 Jan 10, Victor Noir (22), French journalist, was killed by Prince Pierre Bonaparte.



    • May 8, plebiscite voted confidence in the Empire with about 84% of votes in favor.

    • July 19, The Franco-Prussian War began.

    • July 23, In France Marx completed what will become known as his "First Address."

    • July 26, In France Marx’s "First Address" was approved and internationally distributed

    • Aug 6, At the Battle at Spicheren: Prussia beat France.

    • Aug 18, Battle of Gravelotte

    • Sep 2, Napoleon III with 80,000 men capitulated to the Prussians at Sedan, France.

    • Sep 4, Paris workers forced the Legislative Assembly to proclaim the fall of the Empire.

    • Sep 19, Two Prussian armies began a 135-day siege of Paris as the 2nd Empire collapsed.

    • Oct 7, French Minister of the Interior Gambetta escaped besieged Paris by balloon,

    • Oct 20, The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, was burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.

    • Oct 27, The French fortress of Metz surrendered to the Prussian Army.

    • Oct 30, French National Guard was defeated at Le Bourget.

    • Oct 31, Paris workers and revolutionary sections of the National Guard rose up in revolt, led by Blanqui.

    1871 Jan 8, Prussian troops began to bombard Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

    • Jan 18, German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich) was proclaimed in Versailles.

    • Jan 22, The Paris proletariat and the National Guards held a revolutionary demonstration, initiated by the Blanquists.

    • Jan 28, France, provisional republican government

    • Jan, The bombardment of Paris began.

    • Feb 8, Elections were held in France, unknown to most of the nation's population.

    • Feb 12, In France the new National Assembly opened at Bordeaux.

    • Feb 26, France and Prussia signed a preliminary peace treaty at Versailles.

    • March 1, Germans paraded down the Champs-Elysses, Paris, France during the Franco-Prussian War.

    • March 26, Paris Commune was declared and lasted 2 months

    • May 21-July 28, French government troops attacked the Commune of Paris; 17,000 died.

    • May 23, In France extremists burned the Tuileries Palace.

    • May 28, The last communards were shot

    • The Rothschild banking empire bankrolled France's reparations to Germany.

    • Aug 31 Adolphe Thiers began his term as president of France.

    1873 May 24 Patrice de Mac-Mahon began his term as president of France.

    • Sep 20, A financial panic hit the US Panic spread to Europe as London and Paris markets crashed

    • A French expeditionary force in Vietnam sacked Hanoi's citadel.

    1874 Bicycle couriers came into being in Paris taking messages from banks to telegraph offices.

    1875 July 16, The new French constitution is finalized.

    1875 Aug 25, Captain Matthew Webb first person to swim across the English Channel,

    1879 Jan 30 Jules Grévy began his term as president of France.

    1880 June 29, France annexed Tahiti.


    • 1880 Dec 11, Louis Pasteur (57), French scientist, began an experiment to identify the microbe that causes rabies.

    • 1880 France resurrected Bastille Day as a national holiday.

    • 1880 The French colonized Polynesia.

    1881 March 23, Gas lamp set fire to Nice, France, opera house and 70 died.

    1881 May 12, The Treaty of Bardo established Tunis [Tunisia] as a French protectorate.

    1882 April 25, French commander Henri Riviere seized the citadel of Hanoi.

    1882 Sep 3 French, Vietnamese and Chinese battled at Hanoi; hundreds died.

    1883 Oct 4 Orient Express made its 1st run linking Istanbul, Turkey, to Paris by rail.

    1883 Haiti made its final payment to France of the 1825 "debt," renegotiated in 1838.

    1884 June 23 A Chinese Army defeated the French at Bacle, Indochina.

    1884 July 4 Statue of Liberty was presented to the US in ceremonies at Paris, France.

    1885 June 14 The 1st photo finish horse race was recorded

    1885 Paris Police Dept. (Surete) developed the Bertillon system to help identify criminals.



    1886 Oct 28 Statue of Liberty was dedicated by President Cleveland.

    1886-1888 Vincent Van Gogh made his Paris sojourn.

    1887 Dec 3 Marie François Sadi Carnot began his term as president of France.

    1889 Feb 4 Panama Canal project under Ferdinand de Lesseps (d.1894) went bankrupt.

    1889 March 31 Eiffel Tower, completion.

    1889 May 6 Paris Exposition formally opened, featuring the just-completed Eiffel Tower.

    1889 Oct 6 Moulin Rouge in Paris first opened its doors to the public.

    1890 May, Vincent van Gogh arrived in the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise, seeking a new life after a year in a mental asylum.

    1890 July 29 Artist Vincent van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound

    1890 French foreign legionnaires massacred the amazonian army of Dahomey (Benin).

    1891 April 1 London-Paris telephone connection opened.

    1892 Nov 8 In Paris anarchist Emile Henry bomb killed 5 policemen.

    1892 Nov 16 King Behanzin of Dahomey (now Benin), led soldiers against the French.

    1893 Feb 9 Suez Canal builder De Lesseps and others were sentenced to prison for fraud.

    1893 Dec 9 nail bomb in the chamber: 20 deputies were slightly injured.

    1893 French colonialists seized control of Laos

    1894 Jan 4 Franco-Russian Alliance was confirmed.

    1894 Feb 12, anarchist Emile Henry hurled a bomb into the Cafe Terminus killing one and injuring twenty.



    • May 21 Emile Henry (22) went to the guillotine,

    • June 24 Sadi Carnot French Pres. (1887-1894), was assassinated by an Italian anarchist.

    • June 27 Jean Casimir-Perier began his term as president of France.

    • July 22 The first major automobile race between Paris and Rouen, France

    • Oct 15 Captain Alfred Dreyfus was arrested for allegedly betraying military secrets to Germany.

    • Nov Dreyfus affair begins,

    • Dec 22 Dreyfus was fraudulently convicted of treason

    • In Mali Touareg nomads first rebelled and were bloodily suppressed.

    1895 Jan 5, Dreyfus was publicly stripped of his rank.

    1895 Jan 17 Félix Faure began his term as president of France.

    1895 April 23 Russia, France, and Germany forced Japan to return the Liaodong peninsula to China.

    1895 In Senegal exiled religious leader Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba to their other colonial holdings in West Africa.

    1896 Aug, Lt Colonel Picquart, reported that the real traitor in the Dreyfus case was a Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy.

    1896 Oct 7, Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia made a state visit with Pres.

    1898 Jan 10 court-martial against Major Esterhazy began behind closed doors.


    • Jan 13 Emile Zola's famous defense of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, "J'accuse," was published in Paris.

    • Feb 23 Zola was imprisoned in France for his letter J’accuse

    • Sep 13 20,000 Paris construction workers went on strike.

    • Dec 10 A treaty was signed in Paris, officially ending the Spanish-American War.

    • Dec 21 French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered 2 new elements that they later named radium and polonium.

    • 1899 March 27 The first international radio transmission between England and France

    • 1899 April 11 Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.

    • 1899 June 3 A French court overturned the 1894 guilty verdict against Capt. Dreyfus.

    • 1899 Sep 19 Dreyfus won a pardon after a retrial was forced by public opinion.

    1899 Feb 18 Émile Loubet began his term as president of France.

    1900 April 14 Gates opened to the World Fair, the Great Exposition in Paris.



    • May 14 Olympic games opened in Paris,

    • Sep 19 Dreyfus pardoned

    • Nov 12 World Fair, the Great Exposition in Paris, closed.

    • Nov 30 French government declared sympathy for the Boers.

    1901 June 24 The 1st exhibition by Pablo Picasso (19) opened in Paris.

    1901 Henry Dunant won the 1st Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in establishing the Int’l. Red Cross

    1902 Jan 4 French offered to sell their Nicaraguan Canal rights to the U.S.


    • March 20 France and Russia acknowledged the Anglo-Japanese alliance,

    • April 20 Radium was isolated as a pure metal by Curie and André-Louis Debierne

    • May 2 "A Trip To The Moon," the 1st science fiction, was film released.

    • June 28 Congress passed the Spooner bill, authorizing a canal to be built across the isthmus of Panama.

    1903 Jan 19 The new bicycle race, "Tour de France," began with 60 cyclists competing in a 2,500 kilometer, 19-day race.

    • April 6 French Army Nationalists were revealed for forging documents to guarantee a conviction for Alfred Dreyfus,

    • June, Marie Curie received her doctorate from the univ. of Paris.

    • July 1 The 1st Tour de France bicycle race began.

    • Dec 10 Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Pierre and Marie Curie

    1904 April 8 Entente Cordiale was signed

    1905 Feb 1 Germany contested French rule in Morocco.



    • March 11 Parisian subway was officially inaugurated.

    • April 1 Berlin and Paris were linked by telephone.

    • Dec 9 French Assembly National voted for separation of church and state.

    1906 Feb 18 Armand Fallières began his term as president of France.

    1906 July 12 Dreyfus was found innocent in France of his earlier court-martial for spying for Germany.

    1907 June 10 In China 11 men in five cars set out from the French embassy in Beijing on a race to Paris.


    • Aug 31 England, Russia and France formed their Triple Entente.

    • Dec 2 Spain and France agreed to enforce Moroccan measures adopted in 1906.

    • Explorations began at the ancient city of Angkor.

    1908 Jan 12 A wireless message was sent long-distance for the first time from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

    1908 July 30 An around the world automobile race ended in Paris.

    1909 Jan 17 Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the world’s first flying school at Pau, France,

    1909 Feb 9 France recognize German economic interests in Morocco in exchange for political supremacy.

    1909 March 2 Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy asked Serbia to set no territorial demands.

    1909 April 18 Joan of Arc was declared a saint.

    1910 French Equatorial Africa was a former administrative grouping of four French territories in west central Africa.

    1911 Aug 21 Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre Museum.

    1912 March 4 French council of war unanimously voted a mandatory three-year military service.

    1912 Nov 24 Austria denounced Serbian gains in the Balkans;

    1912-1956 French ruled Morocco.

    1913 Jan 21 Aristide Briand formed a French government.

    1913 Feb 18 Raymond Poincaré began his term as president of France.

    1913 May 29 The premier of the ballet Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)



    1914 Aug 1 France and Germany mobilized.

    • Aug 2 German press falsely reported that French bombed Nuremberg.

    • Aug 3 Germany invaded Belgium and declared war on France.

    • 2011 May 6, France ordered 14 diplomats loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to leave the country within 48 hours.


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