In Revolutionary France, the Legislative Assembly votes to abolish the monarchy and establish the First Republic. The measure came one year after King Louis XVI reluctantly approved a new constitution that stripped him of much of his power. Louis ascended to the French throne in 1774 and from the start was unsuited to deal with the severe financial problems that he inherited from his predecessors. In 1789, food shortages and economic crises led to the outbreak of the French Revolution.
King Louis and his queen, Mary-Antoinette, were imprisoned in August 1792, and in September the monarchy was abolished. Soon after, evidence of Louis' counterrevolutionary intrigues with foreign nations was discovered, and he was put on trial for treason. In January 1793, Louis was convicted and condemned to death by a narrow majority. On 21 January, he walked steadfastly to the guillotine and was executed. Marie-Antoinette followed him to the guillotine nine months later.
Also on this Day
Didn’t They Sing ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’? (No, Sorry, That Was Rockwell)
BBC Radio 4’s Shipping Forecast has a devoted legion of fans who love the poetry and mystery of strangely named places such as Cromarty, Dogger and Fastnet. But one the forecast’s regions made the news for other reasons on this day in 1955, when a couple of Royal Marines landed on a bar... Read more >
The USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered vessel, is commissioned by the United States Navy. The 325-foot sub, designed by Russian-born American engineer Hyman George Rickover, could remain submerged for almost unlimited periods because its atomic engine needed no air. It could also fire missiles at enemy targets on land or sea from its submerged position. With a speed of over 20 knot... Read more >
H.G. Wells, pioneer of science fiction, is born on this day in Bromley, England. Wells was born near London and received a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London. After school, he worked as a draper’s apprentice and bookkeeper before becoming a freelance writer. His lively treatment of scientific topics quickly brought him success as a writer. In 1895, he published his classic ... Read more >