A list of events from 1789 to 1800 in the No Napoleon timeline.


Vive la Revolution!

After having defeated the British Empire in the American Revolutionary War, Americans rejoice in their newfound independence with an outlook toward liberty, freedom and happiness. Citizens of the United States elect George Washington as the first President of the United States. Washington was a key leader in the revolution and a hero beloved by many in the nation.

Prise de la Bastille

Storming of the Bastille, 1789

Meanwhile, a new revolution brews an ocean away, in Europe. The ancient Kingdom of France has declined for decades. France, who played a role in America's independence, did not gain much from the war and in fact contributed severely toward the national debt. The nobility are seen in a very negative manner as a large population of France suffers in poverty. Years of tension finally causes a breaking point in the governance of France as the French Revolutionary War begins on July 14, when citizens of Paris storm the Bastille and free seven prisoners. The fortress, having represented royal authority in the centre of Paris, is captured. Meanwhile in rural areas, peasants attack noble manors. For years to come, France is engulfed in turmoil.

In response to the revolutionaries, the government of France changes its status as an absolute monarchy, in place for centuries, to a constitutional monarchy, limiting the power of the monarch through the French Constitution of 1791. The constitution is also important in that it abolished the nobility of France, stated that all men are equal before the law, and took the ability to ratify legislation away from the King, giving it to France's new legislature, the Legislative Assembly. The power of the king is severely limited, as he is practically forced into war with its European neighbors. The Assembly convinces the King to declare war on Austria, and soon Prussia, an ally of Austria, joins in the conflict.

Further conflict with the Kingdom's nobility occurs with the Storming of the Tuileries on August 10, after the Parisians were infuriated with the Brunswick Manifesto. The manifesto threatened the citizens of France if they were to harm the royal family. The Legislative Assembly of France soon receives requests for the monarchy's demise, and after the flood of requests, the National Convention succeeds in abolishing the monarchy on September 21, and the Convention declared France a republic.

Execution of Louis XVI

A sketch of the execution of Louis XVI

In response to the abolition of the monarchy, King Louis and his family try to flee the country; however, they are caught. Louis is given trial, accused of high treason by the National Convention, and is put to death on January 21 in Paris by guillotine at the Place de la Révolution (Revolution Square). The people of France respond with joy, but their joy soon turns to worry as a coalition of nations, including the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Naples and Portugal, declare war on France in response to the execution of the King. They soon join Austria and Prussia in battle against the republic.

In 1794, the Flanders Campaign saw a great success of the French forces against the Coalition in the Netherlands. Within months, France effectively took control of the Austrian Netherlands, and the Dutch Republic (part of the Coalition) had collapsed at the hands of French forces and revolutionaries. By the next year, on 18 January 1795, the stadtholder William V fled the country, and the Dutch Republic transformed into the Batavian Republic with the transfer of power brought to a Revolutionary Committee. As a result of the revolution, the new republic became a client state of France, and several Dutch colonies held before the revolution were transferred to the British, including Ceylon and the Cape Colony.

In 1796, a man named Napoleon Bonaparte began his military career with tremendous success after marrying Joséphine de Beauharnais. He led his men against the Austrians and their numerous Italian allies, scoring a series of decisive victories that made him famous all across Europe. He knew cutting off these states from Austrian influence would be critical to bring an end to the war, as well as proving France's military and ideological might in Europe.

Napoleon sur son lit de mort Horace Vernet 1826

Napoleon on his deathbed

(POD) Napoleon's final campaign in Italy would be invading the Papal States. Napoleon's army had gained ground in the Papal Legations, but Napoleon reluctant to strike, and sought the advice of members of the Directory before proceeding. However, after having successfully defeated the 1000-year-old Venetian Republic, Napoleon decided it was time to strike. Napoleon's armies marched in virtually unopposed, and the Pope surrendered within days of Napoleon's invasion, and was made to flee Rome to Sicily. Napoleon's campaign in Italy ended with resounding victory, and he returned to France to finish the war and establish peace terms with the nations of Europe. However, it is believed that Bonaparte contracted a fatal disease in Rome (which many locals believed to be a sign from God). Napoleon told his closest advisors of his proposed terms for the upcoming treaty, wanting France to retain her prosperity and not give in to harsh terms. Finally, on the night of September the 9th, the military genius that was Napoleon died at age 28.

Treaty of Campo Formio

Treaty of Campo Formio

A month later, the Treaty of Campo Formio is signed in Campo Formio, Austria. Several representatives across Europe (those nations part of the Coalition) come to outline several terms that result from the victory of the French Republic, and to ensure no later warfare. While France was given strict terms (that, if broken, would swiftly result in war), France was finally recognized internationally as a republic, gained several territorial concessions, and several French Client Republics were formally established. Austria and Britain also came to term with the peace, and France ceased all conflicts with European nations.

France enjoyed several years of peace with Europe. However, internal conflicts were threatening the future of the nation. While the Directory was key in its establishment in the client republics and land gains, it was very unpopular with the public. The Directory was semi-autocratic, and at times was reminiscent of an ineffective dictatorship; as well, many attempts to restore financial stability were for naught. Its use of violence, injustice, and repression among the population was very much cause for concern, especially in a new republic that so many fought years to defend. Another major factor for the leaders of the upcoming coup was the handling of foreign affairs, including the Quasi-War that completely ruined relations between the United States and France, which was the United States' only ally at the time.

20 Frimaire caricature (No Napoleon)

Coup of 20 Vendemiaire

As a result, on 10 December of 1800, clergyman and political theorist Emmanuel Sieyès, along with dozens of his followers, begin the coup of 20 Vendemiaire, which successfully overthrew the French Directory. The members of the coup helped establish the representative democratic presidential system still in place today, in which elected members would serve for four years, once renewable, based on the American system. Elections would be held in 1801, and millions rejoice as the prospect of true peace and democracy in France would serve as a beacon of hope for other nations.


Map of the world by the year 1800.

World 1800 (NN)
Preceded by:
Timeline of 18th century history
1789 – 1800
Succeeded by:

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