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French Revolution timeline

King Louis XVIKing Louis XVI


8th August The Parlement of Paris, an assembly of nobles, refuses to lend the Crown further funds or to pay taxes. The Minister of Finance calls a meeting of the Estates General, an assembly of the three traditional orders, or Estates, of French society: nobility, clergy and commoners (known as The Third Estate). The Estates General has not met since 1614.

19th November French bankers and businessmen agree to lend the Crown money, on condition that the Estates General will have power to reform the system.


The common people in late 18th-century France, many of whom became supporters of the Revolution, were known as sans-culottes. Culottes were the fashionable silk knee-breeches that the nobility and middle classes wore. Poor labourers, the sans-culottes (“without culottes”) wore pantalons, or trousers, instead.

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