The Plague, and its Effects on Peasants

Ben Rex

11/24/14 Period 4

Just think. People dying at your feet, and all around you, every second. You sprint back to the land you work on. When you’re there, you don’t see anyone. It was break time after all, but you were 5 minutes late. You knock on the lord’s door and ask him where everyone is. He just tells you to get back to work so you do. You expect them to come back soon, but you’re the only one. But then you get an idea. You think, that now that there’s a shortage of peasants that your value might go up. You walk back the the lord’s house and talk to him again. You explain your reasoning and he tells you to get lost. You go into town, looking for a job. There’s nothing. After months on living on the street, you run into your old lord. He says his land is looking terrible, and he desperately needs a worker. You get the wage you want, and could finally support a family. This is one of the reasons the Bubonic plague affected peasants in medieval Europe. First, the plague caused many arguments with lords. Peasants demanded higher pay, because there were less of them to go around, making them more valuable. One outbreak on May 28, 1358 about 100 peasants killed the lord and his family. Usually, that didn't happen because the peasants weren't very well armed. Most of the time nobles just stopped the peasants. Going more into the subject on the value of peasants, so many had been wiped out by the plague that these slaves were more valuable. Some of these peasants would leave the lord's land if the lord didn't raise his or her pay, they'd just move to the city. Most of the nobles were too desperate to keep their land looking good, so the noble just raised the pay. So, it turns out that the bubonic plague wasn't all bad. Yeah, it killed over 30-60% of Europe's population, but it rose the peasants pay. That is the effect that the bubonic plague had on peasants.