View an interactive timeline of the guillotine

Death Tolls

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the guillotine's history is the sheer speed and scale of its adoption and use. Born out of a discussion in 1789 that had actually considered banning the death penalty, the machine had been used to kill over 15,000 people by the Revolution's close in 1799, despite not being fully invented until the middle of 1792.

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Living Heads

From its first use, there has been debate as to whether the guillotine always provided as swift a death as Dr Guillotin hoped. With previous methods of execution, there was little concern about the suffering inflicted. But where the guillotine was invented specifically to be "humane", the issue was seriously considered. Furthermore, there is the possibility that the very swiftness of the guillotine only prolonged the victim's suffering.

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Articles

We have compiled a list of some very informational articles. Articles range from guillotine related information to the French Revolution.

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Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin

1738 - 1821
French physician, president of the Chamber of the Provinces in 1775, founder of the French Acadamy of Medicine, and deputy to the French assembly in 1789..

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Interactive blueprint: How the Guillotine works
Guillotine Facts & Trivia | Books, films and more on the guillotine & the French Revolution