Yup, the last execution by guillotine was in 1977 (37 years ago). France abolished the death penalty in 1981.
I'm trying to figure out why dernier goes before the noun. It's not Beauty, Age, Goodness, or Size, and it seems pretty objective, so I would think it goes after. Is it because it's describing a temporal comparison (the latest/last/most recent iteration)? Am I overthinking this? (PROBABLY)
You raise a very good point.
Just a guess. Dernier is treated as modifying the verb not the noun. Dernier is not considered to be describing the meal but rather when it is being eaten.
adveb. last = After all others in chronology or sequence: arrived last. ......Being so places it near the verb.
However, I would treat it as an adjective
adjective. last = Being, coming, or placed after all others; final: the last game of the season. ....In which case, it seems like an objective classification of a meal which should be placed after the noun.
On the other hand I may be overthinking it as you say.
Maybe there is a rule in French that goes something like : "Dernier goes before the noun, so deal with it."