- 1748 Olympe de Gouges [O G] born 7 May to Anne–Olympe Mouisset in Montauban,
presumed to be the illegitimate child of Le Franc de Pompignan.
- 1765 O G marries Louis–Yves Aubry 24 October.
- 1766 son Pierre born 29 August; husband dies that winter; takes the name Olympe de
- 1767 O G meets Jacques Biétrix de Rozières (1739 – ?) who becomes her lover and
companion; she refuses to re–marry.
- From 1773 O G is known to live in Paris [rue des Saussayes then rue du Marais] as does
her elder sister Jeanne; it is almost certain that she had a child by Jacques Biétrix de
Rozières who dies in early childhood, dates unknown.
- Mid 1770s – mid 1780s O G lives in various rented apartments, regularly attends the
theatre, meets journalists and writers (e.g. Louis–Sébastien Mercier, Michel de Cubières,
La Harpe), frequents salon of Mme de Montesson alongside future Philippe égalité, has
contacts in freemasonry through Mme Helvetius and the Condorcets, from 1780 she
regularly sends money to her widowed mother, sets up her own amateur theatre and
attends fashionable classes at the Lycée.
- 1784 O G writes three–act play Zamore et Mizra ou l'Heureux naufrage which breaks with
tradition by writing about slavery from the slaves' perspective. Following the death of Le
Franc de Pompignan she begins to write Mémoire de Madame de Valmont (a fictional
auto–biography) in response to the inconsiderate treatment her mother received from her
father. O G writes three–act play Les Amours de Cherubin inspired by Beaumarchais' Le
Mariage de Figaro; it was well received but never performed due to Beaumarchais'
antipathy to both the play and its author whom he accused of plagiarism.
- 1785 Zamore et Mizra is read and accepted at the Comédie Française but not performed;
the subsequent rows between author and theatre lead to O G narrowly avoiding
imprisonment in the Bastille. One–act play Lucinde et Cardéni is read but refused.
- 1786 Les Amours de Cherubin published as Le Mariage inatendu de Cherubin;
O G tours
provinces in amateur production of the play with son and others. Publishes five–act play L'Homme généreux, again well received but not performed.
- 1787 O G sells her private theatre – sets, costumes etc., writes five–act play Le Philosophe corrigé ou le Cocu supposé.
- 1788 O G publishes first two volumes of three volume Œuvres which includes all works
cited previously and one–act play Bienfaisante ou la Bonne mère; later publishes third
volume with new five–act play Molière chez Ninon ou Le Siècle des grands hommes.
Writes Réflexions sur les Hommes Nègres; Dialogue entre mon esprit, le bon sens et la
raison, ou critique de mes Œuvres; Préface pour les dames, ou le Portrait des Femmes;
Réminiscences; Les Vengeances utiles et humaines. Estates General recalled for 1789
due to financial crisis, Assembly of Notables meets 6 November; on same day her first
political pamphlet Lettre au peuple ou projet d'une caisse patriotique is advertised;
December sees publication of Remarques patriotiques.
- 1789 O G publishes Dialogue allégorique entre la France et la vérité and a philosphical
essay Bonheur primitif de l'homme. Writes one–act play Bienfaisante ou la Bonne mère. Moves to Versailles to participate in the opening of the Estates General on 5 May;
publishes Le Cri du sage and Avis pressant, ou réponse à mes calomniateurs in same
month. June sees publication of Pour sauver la patrie il faut respecter les trois ordres. On
17 June Estates General name themselves National Assembly, on 19 June majority of
clergy vote to join Third Estate, on 20 June Oath taken in Tennis Court, on 23 June the
King vetoes the decisions taken by the Third Estate, on 27 June the King orders clergy
and nobility to join Third Estate, on 7 July the Constituent National Assembly formed.
Publication on 24 June of Discours de l'aveugle au Français and in the same month Mes
vŒux sont remplis, ou le Don patriotique. 11 July Necker dismissed (recalled on 16), riots
in Paris leading to storming of Bastille on 14 July. Séance royale distributed 11 July,
followed by Lettre à Monseigneur le duc d'Orléans, Motion de Monseigneur le duc
d'Orléans, ou les Songes patriotiques. 26 August National Assembly adopts Declaration of
Rights of Man and of the Citizen. 7 September a delegation of women offer their jewellery
to the state to alleviate its debt; 11 September O G publishes Action héroïque d'une
française, ou la France sauvée par les femmes. 5 October women march on Versailles, 6
October royal family brought to Paris. O G leaves Versailles for Paris. 28 December first
night of L'Esclavage des Nègres, ou l'Heureux naufrage. Writes Les Comédiens
démasqués, ou Madame de Gouges ruinée par la Comédie Française; Le Contre–poison,
Avis aux citoyens de Versailles; L'Ordre national, ou le Comte d'Artois inspiré par Mentor;
Projets utiles et salutaires; Projet de formation d'un second Théâtre Français and
numerous articles and published letters in 1789.
- 1790 2 January third and last performance of L'Esclavage des Nègres brought down by
slave traders; OG replies with Réponse au champion Américain ou Colon très aisé à
connâitre 18 January. Religious orders suppressed in February; in same month O G
publishes Adresse au Représentants de la Nation and Lettres aux littérateurs français. In
April O G publishes Départ de M. Necker et de Mme de Gouges, in May Projet sur la
formation d'un Tribunal populaire et supréme en matière criminelle. 14 July first Fête de la
fédération writes one–act play Les Aristocrates et les Démocrates, ou le Curieux du
Champ de Mars. 4 September Necker resigns. 19 September funeral procession for
soldiers killed at Nancy. Three–act play Le Couvent, ou les VŒux forcés first performed 4
October and continued to be played sporadically until 1792. 12 October legality of slavery
reaffirmed followed by riots in Saint–Domingue (Hispaniola) at the end of the month. O G
also wrote Bouquet national; one act play Le Temps et la Liberté, ou la Fédération
française; five–act play Le Nouveau Tartuffe, ou l'Ecole de jeunes gens. 21 December
National Assembly decrees to erect a statue in memory of Rousseau.
- 1791 Three–act play Les Rêveries de Jean–Jacques ou la Mort de Jean–Jacques à
Ermenonville read and refused by Comédie Française. 13 January the Comédie Française
loses its theatrical monopoly following a decree allowing any citizen to erect a public
theatre and recognising playwrights as sole owners of their works. 6 March Pauline Léon
suggests a female militia to the National Assembly. Five–act play Nécessité du divorce, ou
le Divorce read at the Comédie Italienne in March. Mirabeau dies 2 April; OG writes Le
Tombeau de Mirabeau and a four–act play Mirabeau aux Champs–Elysées performed at
the Comédie Italienne on 14 April but so cut it was reduced to one act; played to great
success in Bordeaux on 1 June. 21 June Louis XVI arrested in Varennes; O G publishes Sera–t–il roi, ou ne le sera–t–il pas? in next few days. 24 June O G presents Projet d'une
garde nationale de Femmes to the National Assembly. 17 July Champ de Mars massacre.
O G publishes Observations sur les étrangers in July. 17 August all emigrants to return to
France within a month; O G writes Adresse au Roi et à la Reine, au Prince de Condé et
Observations à M. Duveyrier sur sa fameuse ambassade. 5 September Repentir de
Madame de Gouges appears. 14 September Louis XVI accepts the constitution inspired
by the Declaration of the Rights of Man; O G presents her alternative Déclaration des
Droits de la femme et de la citoyenne, dédié à la Reine. 27 September slavery is made
illegal within France but not in the colonies. 30 September last session of Constituent
National Assembly; 1 October first sitting of Legislative National Assembly. 5 October Sire
and Majesté are banned as forms of address. October sees the start of bellicose debates
regarding foreign powers. 14 November Pétion elected as Mayor of Paris. 25 November
surveillance committee created by Legislative Assembly. December sees mounting
pressure for war against foreign powers to safeguard revolution.
- 1792 January sees publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of
Woman translated the same year into French. Paris troubled by riots at end of the month,
grocery shops pillaged due to shortages and escalating prices. 1 February passports
obligatory for any internal journeys; 9 February French emigrant's chattels are confiscated
in favour of the nation. O G publishes Le Bon Sens du Français in February and L'Esprit
français ou Problème a résoudre sur le labyrinthe de divers complots in March. 3 March ;
Simonneau, mayor of Etampes, murdered by a rabble; 16 March Gustav III of Sweden
assassinated; 20 March the creation of guillotines authorised; 24 March black men in the
Antilles are given political status; 30 March triumphant march into Paris by liberated Swiss
soldiers of Châteauvieux. O G's sister Jeanne who married and came to Paris before her
younger sibling dies in March. O G produces a poster in April Invocation au sens commun,
ou Dernier mot sur la fête de la Liberté qui aura lieu dimanche 15 Avril 1792 prior to
festival on 15 April for Swiss soldiers. The Legislative Assembly decides to honour
Simonneau as a civic hero with a festival; O G comes to the Assembly and successfully
campaigns for a women's cortege in the celebratory procession of 3 June. In April she
publishes Le Bon sens français, ou l'Apologie des vrais nobles, dédié aux Jacobins followed by Grande éclipse du Soleil Jacobiniste et de la Lune Feuillantine and Lettre aux
Français. War declared on 20 April. In May O G writes Lettres à la Reine, aux Généraux
de l'Armée, aux Amis de la Constitution et aux Françaises citoyennes. 20 June invasion of
the Tuileries by Parisian crowds. In June O G publishes a two–volume novel Le Prince
philosophe; in July she addresses her Pacte Nationale to the Assembly and publishes both Le cri de l'Innocence and Aux Fédérés. 14 July O G organised a cortège of women to
participate in celebratory procession. 30 July national guards from Marseilles arrive in
Paris chanting a song that will become the National Anthem. 5 August O G attends
unveiling of patriotic monument in Auteuil along with Condorcet and Sieyès; she is given a
passport to allow her to tour the provinces with a theatre group so is absent for 10 August
insurrection in Paris, royal family chased out of Tuileries and forced to seek sanctuary in
National Assembly. Following these events O G begins a play La France sauvée, ou le
Tryan détrôné; never finished and not remotely royalist it was nonetheless used against
her in her trial. 13 August royal family imprisoned in Temple. Robespierre proposes a
popular tribunal but is refused. Dumouriez heads Army of the North. By end August 30,000
or more people imprisoned in Paris and guillotine used for first time. Mme de Stael flees
France. Early September Parisian crowds massacre prisoners; O G one of few to respond
with La Fierté de l'Innocence, ou le Silence du véritable Patriotisme. 13 September O G
comes to Legislative Assembly with an old man she had saved from prison massacres
begging for his freedom; it was granted, her eloquence and courage had moved the
deputies. 22 September year 1 of the republic is declared. 25 September the republic is
decreed one and indivisible. In October political divisions reach new heights; O G
produces Les Fantômes de l'opinion publique denouncing the factions and attacking
Marat. A Jacobin Bourdon de l'Oise accuses O G of being a royalist and Louis XV's
bastard. 28 October Louvet accuses Robespierre of seeking dictatorship; prior to
Robespierre's response on 5 November O G placards Pronostic sur Maximilien
Robespierre, par un animal amphibie, all over Paris; Robespierre brilliantly defends his
corner, O G replies with Réponse à la justification de Maximilien Robespierre. In response
to Bourdon she writes Correspondance de la cour. Compte moral rendu par Olympe de
Gouges sur une dénonciation faite sur son civisme aux Jacobins par le sieur Bourdon. 14
November Dumouriez enters Brussels, in four days O G writes a play celebrating the event L'Entrée de Dumouriez à Bruxelles ou les vivandiers; 19 November the Convention vows
to help any country seeking freedom; 20 armoire de fer discovered at Tuileries implicating
Mirabeau and proving that Louis XVI had sought the help of other sovereigns. 15
December O G writes to Assembly offering to defend the king at his trial as all men
deserve a fair trial, she is refused, heedless of the warnings that she has powerful
enemies she placards her letter as Olympe de Gouges défenseur officieux de Louis Capet. An armed gang assembles outside her flat, she comes down to talk to them and through
her humour and courage narrowly avoids decapitation at the hands of an armed man
holding her tight. She decides to abandon politics writing Mon dernier mot à mes chers
amis but the imminent death of Louis Capet obliges her to write Adresse au don Quichotte
du Nord. Also written in 1792 Dédicace à la Providence; Invocation à la Providence; Abrégé de la vie de l'auteur; Maximes d'Olympe de Gouges. Grandson born in 1792.
- 1793 17 January Louis Capet condemned to death; 18 January O G produces red poster Arrêt de mort que présente Olympe de Gouges contre Louis Capet. 21 January king
guillotined. 22 January Roland resigns. 23 January first night of L'Entrée de Dumouriez à
Bruxelles ou les vivandiers; production delayed from 1791; coincides with king's death; this
and OG's presumed royalism ensures its failure. 1 February war declared on England. 7
March war declared on Spain. 10 March Fouquier–Tinville heads Revolutionary Tribunal.
Insurrection in the Vendée. Facing the real threat of civil war O G writes Avis pressant à la
Convention, par une vraie Républicaine. 20 March she is attacked in the street but evades
her assassins (presumed to be associates of Laclos); in Union, courage, surveillance, et la
République est sauvée O G accuses Laclos and Philippe égalité of betraying revolution;
latter arrested 3 April. 29 March law passed making it treasonable and punishable by
death to support any government other than republic, one and indivisible. O G publishes
two volume Œuvres politiques originally dedicated to Philippe égalité but now to Parisian
journalists. 6 April Committee of Public Safety created. Girondins and Montagnards more
divided than ever. In May O G's son wounded in battle, she fears his death; visits
daughter–in–law and grandson in Touraine and arranges to buy local cottage as a retreat
from the tumult in Paris. O G starts work on pamphlet Le Combat à mort des trois
gouvernements in which she suggests a democratic choice of government; very
dangerous territory since 'one and indivisible' law makes such a demand treasonable. May
and June see insurrections throughout France. 2 June Convention votes to arrest 29
Girondin deputies; Roland flees, his wife is arrested. Appalled by the turn of events O G
returns to Paris publishing a pamphlet Testament politique d'Olympe de Gouges defending
the Girondins. Returning to Tours to purchase cottage 1 July O G puts finishing touches to
pamphlet Le Combat. 13 July Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat. Returning to Paris O
G publishes Le Combat as poster Les Trois Urnes, ou le Salut de la Patrie par un
voyageur aérien. 17 July Corday guillotined. 20 July O G arrested; 22 July she voluntarily
accompanies gendarmes to take papers from her home; in August she manages to
smuggle placard out of prison Olympe de Gouges au Tribunale révolutionnaire detailing
the horrors of her incarceration. 27 July Robespierre elected to Committee of Public
Safety; a month later he is elected president of the Convention. In September O G
smuggles out further placard Une Patriote persécutée àla Convention nationale in which
she courageously throws down the gauntlet to her enemies. 16 October Marie–Antoinette
guillotined. Despite being transferred to a form of open prison O G does not seek to
escape; she claims to be pregnant, this is not accepted. 28 October O G transferred to
Conciergerie, ante–chamber of the guillotine for so many. 31 October Girondins guillotined.
2 November O G tried and condemned to death. 3 November O G guillotined. 8 November
Mme Roland guillotined. 14 November O G's son Pierre Aubry formally disowns his
- 1794 4 February slavery abolished (reinstated by Napoleon in May 1802).
- 1795 April Pierre Aubry asks the Convention to rehabilitate his mother, giving them the two
volumes of her Œuvres politiques; took the name Aubry de Gouges. Attempts, but fails, to
inherit his mother's property; it had been claimed by the state at her death.
- 1796 Pierre Aubry de Gouges marries his companion following birth of second child.
- 1801 Aubry sent by Bonaparte to command troops in Guyana, a form of exile possibly
motivated by the emperor's distaste for a son who seemingly disowned his mother.
- 1802 Aubry lives in Cayenne where ironically the slavery his mother fought against had
- 1803 7 February Pierre Aubry de Gouges dies from fever.
- 1848 slavery abolished in totality of French territory.
- 1944 April French women given the vote for first time.
1965 Married women entitled to rights over their intellectual property which had previously
belonged to their husbands; O G, Colette, Flora Tristan, George Sand and numerous other
women writers had struggled to maintain their author's rights.
- 1981 9 October death penalty abolished in France.