- NAME: Louis XVI
- OCCUPATION: King
- BIRTH DATE: August 23, 1754
- DEATH DATE: January 21, 1793
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Versailles, France
- PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France
- Full Name: Louis-Auguste de France
- AKA: Louis XVI
- Nickname: "Citizen Capet"
- AKA: Louis Auguste de France
- AKA: Louis XVI of France
- Nickname: "Citoyen Louis Capet"
- AKA: Louis Capet
- AKA: Louis, Duke of Berry (Duc de Berry)
- AKA: Louis, Dauphin of France
- AKA: King Louis XVI
Best Known For
Louis XVI was the last king of France (1774–92) in the line of Bourbon monarchs preceding the French Revolution of 1789. He was executed for treason by guillotine in 1793.
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In the final two years of his reign, events moved rapidly. In the fall of 1791, Louis XVI tied his hopes on the dubious prospect of war with Austria in hopes that a military defeat would pave the way for a restoration of his authority. War broke out in April 1792. Suspicions of treason led to the capture of the royal palace and the temporary suspension of the king’s powers.
On September 21, 1792, the Legislative Assembly proclaimed the First French Republic. That November,
proof of Louis XVI’s secret dealings and counter-revolutionary intrigues was discovered, and he and his family were charged with treason. Louis was soon found guilty by the National Assembly and condemned to death. On January 21, 1793, Louis XVI was guillotined in the Palace de la Revolution. His wife, Marie Antoinette, met the same fate nine months later, on October 16, 1793.
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Whether by sword, axe or guillotine, death by beheading was historically considered the most humane form of death sentence—as long as the executioner was swift, strong and good at hitting his mark. While the practice was never legally supported in the United States, we do give the method a nod in this country whenever we use the term "capital punishment"; the word "capital" is derived from the Latin "capitalis," which translates to "of the head." Here are some of the most famous victims of this gruesome form of execution.
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