Image: Figures from history of France as Bourbon Dynasty, republic and empire.

Historical Figures of France

From Ancient Regime to Empire

Through the fortuitous death of his brothers-in-law, Henry Bourbon inherited the throne and founded the Bourbon dynasty. This family dominated French history for more than 250 years. 

The greatest Bourbon ruler, Louis XIV, was the personification of royal grandeur, whereas his descendants became the symbols of all that was corrupt and parasitical in the monarchy. King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette paid with their heads, as did thousands of French aristocracy! 

The rule of the Ancien Regime ended in the tumultuous French Revolution of Maximilien Robespierre and the guillotine. Napoleon Bonaparte led the young French Republic to a French Empire only to be defeated, opening the door to the  Bourbon restoration of Louis XVIII and Charles X.