Tag Archives: guillotine

this day in the yesteryear: Maximilien Robespierre Guillotined (1794)


Maximilien Robespierre Guillotined (1794)

Known as “the Incorruptible” for his emphasis on civic morality, Robespierre became one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. He was an influential member of the Committee of Public Safety, the political body that controlled France during the bloody revolutionary period known as the “Reign of Terror.” However, popular discontent with the committee’s brutal measures soon grew, and Robespierre was guillotined in the coup of 9 Thermidor. What might have been his last words? More… Discuss

this day in history: Last Public Execution in France (1939)


Last Public Execution in France (1939)

Eugen Weidmann, a convicted thief, kidnapper, and murderer, was the last person to be publicly executed in France. After his arrest, Weidmann confessed to murdering five people and was sentenced to death. Shortly thereafter, he was beheaded by guillotine. The “hysterical behavior” of spectators at the event was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Executions by guillotine in France continued in private until what date? More… Discuss

THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: Antoine Lavoisier Tried, Convicted, and Guillotined (1794)


Antoine Lavoisier Tried, Convicted, and Guillotined (1794)

Known today as the “father of modern chemistry,” Lavoisier was among the first to use quantitative methods in chemical investigations. He stated the first version of the Law of Conservation of Mass, named oxygen and discovered its role in combustion, and helped to construct the metric system. Lavoisier also worked to improve economic and social conditions in France. He was beheaded during the Reign of Terror because, as a member of the farmers general, one of his duties was to do what? More… Discuss

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NEWS: BLOOD ON HANDKERCHIEF LIKELY NOT ROYAL


Blood on Handkerchief Likely Not Royal

A handkerchief long thought to be stained with the blood of guillotined French King Louis XVI is likely inauthentic. DNA analysis of the blood on the cloth suggests it most likely belonged to a brown-eyed, average-height person, whereas the king had blue eyes and was quite tall for his time. The genetics also point to French and Italian lineage, while many of Louis XVI’s ancestors came from Germany and Poland. Why then was the handkerchief stored in an elaborately decorated gourd bearing the inscription, “On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation”? One theory is that a fraudster created the fake relic for money. More… Discuss

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ST. PIERRE AND MIQUELON


St. Pierre and Miquelon

The sole remnant of France’s once vast territory in North America, St. Pierre and Miquelon is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean south of the Canadian island of Newfoundland. France and Britain fought over control of the islands for centuries, until France finally retook them for good in 1814. The area was a hotbed of alcohol smuggling during the US prohibition era and has the odd distinction being the only place in North America where a guillotine was ever used. What is the “Mouth of Hell“? More… Discuss