The guillotine was a device used for executions by decapitation.
It was invented in 1792 by French doctor Antoine Louis and named after French Revolution leader Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. The guillotine remained the standard method of execution in France until the abolition of capital punishment in 1981.
Here are 10 fun facts about the guillotine:
1. The machine was invented by Antoine Louis, a French doctor who lobbied for a more humane method of execution.
2. The first recorded use of the guillotine was in 1792, when a highwayman named Nicolas Jacques Pelletier was executed.
3. The most famous victim of the guillotine was Marie Antoinette, the queen of France. She was executed in 1793.
4. During the Reign of Terror period of the French Revolution, an estimated 16,000 people were executed by guillotine – many of them nobility or political opponents of Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre.
5. The last public execution by guillotine took place in 1939, when a murderer named Eugen Weidmann was put to death.
6. Prior to its adoption as a method of execution, the guillotine was used primarily for medical purposes such as amputations and dissections.
7. The machine was also used in Nazi Germany, where more than 16,000 people were executed by it.
8. The guillotine was also used in the Belgian Congo, where it was known as “la Belle”.
9. The guillotine is currently on display at the Museum of History in Paris.
10. The name “guillotine” comes from Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, a member of the National Assembly who advocated for its use as a more humane form of execution than other methods such as hanging or beheading with an axe.