The Bubonic Plague

By Makayla S.

The Effect of the Plague on Peasants

The Bubonic Plague is an illness that killed many people during medieval Europe; however, it benefited the commoners by giving them more power and control then the nobles. In the beginning, when the plague just swept in, the peasants started revolting against the authorities because they opposed to the raising taxes and wanted equal rights for everyone. "Two revolts typified peasant uprisings, one in France and one in England." The France revolt started in the middle of the Hundred Year War, year 1358. The revolt had started because of the war had created high taxes, destruction of towns, and forced labor, which the commoners greatly opposed to. The England revolt was a group of one hundred peasants who lived in St. Leu. These peasants attacked the nearest manor and "massacred the lord and his family.” Similar revolts continued along the countryside. The end result included one hundred sixty castles burned. In addition to the raids, when the Bubonic plague left "Europe’s once high and mighty families found themselves the begging peasants to come and work for them." Peasants knew they had the advantage over the nobles so they demanded improvement for all commoners. Many wanted higher wages and better conditions. Some peasants wouldn't work if their requests were not fulfilled and surfs were not afraid to run away. Other peasants would try to form their own organizations outside of the guild. All the commoners really wanted was better treatment and to end the age of slaves and surfs. Even as the Bubonic Plague passed and the nobles enforced laws “to put the lower classes back in their place” feudalism was never the same.

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