Timeline - 1757 to the Present
1757 Sept 6: Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, is born at Chateau Chavaniac in the Auvergne region of southern France.
1770 April 24: Lafayette's maternal grandfather dies. He inherits great wealth from the La Rivière estate that includes a thousand acres of land, farms in Brittany, and business investments in the Indies. At 13, he becomes one of the wealthiest aristocrats in Europe.
1778 December: British invade and conquer Savannah, Georgia.
1781 January: Continental unrest. Pennsylvania and New Jersey troops mutiny. Washington hopes such actions inspire no repeat performances in other battalions.
1781 October: French and American troops cannonade the British into surrender after nine days of blistering artillery fire.
1787: Lafayette receives an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
1789: Lafayette is elected as representative of the nobility to the Estates General at Paris. He becomes a leader of the liberal aristocrats and an outspoken advocate of religious freedom and the abolition of the slave trade.
1789 May: Lafayette supports maneuvers to gain control of the Estates General to convert it into a revolutionary National Assembly.
1799 November: The Directoire ends in failure. Organized in reaction to the Reign of Terror, it goes down in French history as one of the most corrupt and complicated governments--with the possible exception of the corruption and barbarism of the Empire under Emperor Napoleon.
1799: Napoleon refuses to let Lafayette into the country because of his liberal democratic ideas. Lafayette defies him by ignoring intimidation and returns anyway to become a gentleman farmer at his wife's chateau La Grange.
1824 August: Lafayette visits the spot where the Boston Liberty Tree had once stood.
1830 July: Lafayette commands the National Guard that helps overthrow King Charles X and installs Louis-Philippe on the throne of France.
1830: Lafayette actively supports the Polish Revolution. He gives endless speeches in the Chamber of Deputies; he gives financial support, entertains exiled politicians, and becomes a founding member of the Polish Committee.
2007 May 22: The House of Representatives of the United States passes resolution honoring Lafayette on the 250th anniversary of his birth.