Guillotine Mechanized device for execution by beheading adopted during the French Revolution. It was first used in 1792, and c.1400 died under it during the Reign of Terror.
During the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), about 40,000 people were executed or murdered. A guillotine was set up in the Place de la Révolution in Paris. This wooden frame contained a sharp blade that dropped onto the victim's neck.
The most famous victims of the guillotine were King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie-Antoinette. The King was convicted by the Revolutionary government in 1793 for treason. He was decapitated on January 21, 1793. His wife, Marie-Antoinette, was imprisoned for nine months after the King's death until she was also executed by the machine's blade. Charles-Henri Sanson executed the King and his son, Henri, dispatched the Queen.