King Louis XVI
Louis XVI.jpg
Portrait of Louis XVI
King of France and Navarre
Reign 10 May 1774 – 24 July 1789
(15 years)
Coronation 11 June 1775 (aged 20)
Predecessor Louis XV
Successor Monarchy Abolished
Spouse Marie Antoinette
Issue Marie Thérèse
Louis-Joseph, Dauphin of France
Louis Charles, Duke of Normandy
Princess Sophie
Full name
Louis Auguste de France
House House of Bourbon
Father Louis, Dauphin of France
Mother Marie-Josèphe of Saxony
Born 23 August 1754
Palace of Versailles, France
Died 11 September 1789 (age 35)
Paris, France
Religion Roman Catholicism

Louis XVI (23 August 1754 – 11 September 1789) ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1774 until he was deposed in a revolution in 1789. The French Revolution, as the abolition of his monarchy has been called, was a turning point in European history. His fall necessitated the creation of the French Republic and was the primary impetus for revolutions against other monarchies, including his own House of Bourbon in Spain.

Though he was not a malicious leader, actually empathizing very strongly with his people, he was rather incompetent, nearly ruined France's economy and made the mistake of marrying an Austrian Archduchess. His most offensive act to the French was to kick the Estates-General out of their traditional parliament building, forcing them to take up office in a Versailles tennis court on 20 June. When he forced them out into the Versailles Cathedral and asked them to disband on 27 June, the lower-class citizens of Paris were insulted.

Beginning as riots in the street, there was an escalation when the Gardes Françaises themselves joined the mob and assisted in the storming of the Bastille fortress. On 24 July the Palace of Versailles was taken by the mob and Louis XVI and his family were brought to Paris to have him stripped of his titles and powers and to bear witness to the declaration of the Republic. Five days later a trial found him guilty of high treason against the state of France and a vote in parliament narrowly agreed to sentence him to death in spite of his royalty.

On 11 September, at the Place de la Concorde, Louis and Marie Antoinette became the first people to be executed by guillotine, establishing a new precedent for capital punishment in the Republic. He is the last King of France and the only one ever to be executed.

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