The Effects of the Black Plague on Peasants in Medieval Times

Peasant workers in their small, dirty home

The Bubonic Plague affected peasants living during feudal times in many different ways. The Plague also called the Black Death, caused many revolts from peasants between 1300 and 1400. Other reasons for revolts were heavy taxes and war. Usually the revolts were ferocious and cruel, wiping out any opponents in their path, with their sheer numbers. The revolts could be so fierce that they would kill nobles, causing the rest to flee. "The most serious of these, that of poor laborers known as the Ciompi, took place in Florence (1378) and followed a course similar to other popular revolts of the time: initial success (which in this case lasted four years), eventual victory for the authorities, and severe reprisals which only added to existing bitterness. The savagery of such revolts and the atmosphere of fear and hatred they created led the ruling classes in the cities to support princes and tyrants who could establish law and order." Even though the revolts were sometimes successful, there was barely any organization or planning involved, and so the nobles, could pin point the location of the peasant's leader and kill them. Without a leader, the revolts soon lost their will to keep protesting against the rules of feudalism. However, the rebellion lived on in the hearts of peasants everywhere for years to come. After the Black Death, peasant workers were the most affected. Many were killed in result of the Plague, leaving healthy workers few, and spread apart. In fact, there were so few that the nobles had to beg them to work! This allowed the peasants to demand higher pay, and better working conditions. Some workers just walked off the job entirely. "In other words, they were demanding an end to the old feudal obligations where the poor lived a slave-like existence."

Peasants revolting against a noble in a medieval town

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