Réveillon riots

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The Réveillon riots occurred between 26–29 April 1789 [1] centered in the St. Antoine district of Paris where a factory which produced luxury wallpaper was owned by Jean-Baptiste Réveillon. The factory employed around 300 people. The riots were one of the first instances of violence during the French Revolution. The factory where the riot took place was unusual in pre-revolutionary France as the factory was guild-free in an era where guilds controlled quality standards.

Faubourg Saint-Antoine Faubourg in Paris, France

The Faubourg Saint-Antoine was one of the traditional suburbs of Paris, France. It grew up to the east of the Bastille around the abbey of Saint-Antoine-des-Champs, and ran along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine.

Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, was a French wallpaper manufacturer. His career was an exemplary story of the self-made businessman in the Ancien Régime.

Violence use of physical force or power with the intent to inflict harm

Violence is "the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy." Less conventional definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization's definition of violence as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation."

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Protests began after rumors spread that the owner had made a speech stating that workers, many of whom were highly skilled, were to be paid lower wages and, as a result, there would be lower prices. Workers were concerned with food shortages, high unemployment, and low wages after a difficult winter in 1789. However, Réveillon was known for his benevolence towards the poor and actually stated that bread prices should be brought down to those that people could afford (below 15 sous a day) but his comments were misinterpreted as wage restrictions. He made the comments on 21 April when the assembly of the Saint-Marguerite was discussing its Cahier which all Estates drew up before the Estates-General was to be called.

Solidus (coin) gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire

The solidus, nomisma, or bezant was originally a relatively pure gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire. Under Constantine, who introduced it on a wide scale, it had a weight of about 4.5 grams. It was largely replaced in Western Europe by Pepin the Short's currency reform, which introduced the silver-based pound/shilling/penny system, under which the shilling functioned as a unit of account equivalent to 12 pence, eventually developing into the French sou. In Eastern Europe, the nomisma was gradually debased by the Byzantine emperors until it was abolished by Alexius I in 1092, who replaced it with the hyperpyron, which also came to be known as a "bezant". The Byzantine solidus also inspired the originally slightly less pure Arab dinar.

The Cahiers de doléances were the lists of grievances drawn up by each of the three Estates in France, between March and April 1789, the year in which the French Revolution began. Their compilation was ordered by King Louis XVI, who had convened the Estates-General of 1789 to manage the revolutionary situation, to give each of the Estates – the First Estate, the Second Estate and the Third Estate, which consisted of everyone else, including the urban working class, the rural peasantry, and middle class and professional people, who were the only ones in the group likely to have their voices heard – the chance to express their hopes and grievances directly to the King. They were explicitly discussed at a special meeting of the Estates-General held on May 5, 1789. Many of these lists have survived and provide considerable information about the state of the country on the eve of the revolution. The documents recorded criticisms of government waste, indirect taxes, church taxes and corruption, and the hunting rights of the aristocracy.

After informal protests on Sunday 26 April, groups of protesters congregated on the Ile de la Cité and in the Faubourg Saint-Marcel, Marais, and Faubourg Saint-Antoine the next day for a series of protest-marches. Though the first three marches - one of which targeted the Third Estate's Assembly of Electors - were resolved peacefully, confrontations between troops and participants in the fourth demonstration led to the outbreak of violence in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine that evening.

While the protesters did not manage to destroy the factory as it was being guarded by a group of around fifty troops, a factory owned by the saltpetre manufacturer Henriot was destroyed after he made similar comments. [2] However Réveillon’s factory was destroyed a day later as was his home [3] The riot killed 25 people [3] and wounded around the same number although rumour caused the casualty figures to be exaggerated. The French Guard were used to restore order.

Potassium nitrate chemical compound

Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3, and is therefore an alkali metal nitrate.

Gardes Françaises regiment

The French Guards were an infantry regiment of the Military Household of the King of France under the Ancien Régime.

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