On this date French highwayman Nicolas Pelletier became the first person to be executed by guillotine. The guillotine was named after Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, a French physician who petitioned for a humane execution method that was to be used on all condemned prisoners, regardless of rank. By 1793 what became known as the Reign of Terror started and aristocrats and nobility lost their heads to the blade. The most famous victims were Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette. Its use continued in France until 1977.