Jacquerie

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Jacquerie

(zhäk'ərē`) [Fr.,=collection of Jacques, which is, like Jacques Bonhomme, a nickname for the French peasant], 1358, revolt of the French peasantry. The uprising was in part a reaction to widespread poverty during the Hundred Years War. Peasants revolted against the écorcheurs (mercenaries who fought in the war), who pillaged their land, and the nobles, who made extortionate demands but did not protect them. Beginning around Beauvais, north of Paris, the revolt spread over a wide area; castles were demolished, provisions stolen, and other violent acts committed. The leader, Guillaume Karle (or Cale), was captured and beheaded by Charles II of Navarre, and the mob was easily dispersed. The nobles took revenge by massacring thousands of the insurgents.

Jacquerie

 

an antifeudal peasant insurrection in France in 1358.

The intensified feudal oppression, the economic ruin connected with the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), and the plundering of mercenary soldiers provoked the uprising. New monetary taxations in order to ransom the king, who had been taken captive in 1356 at Poitiers, and new labor conscriptions introduced in May 1358 by a Compiegne ordinance to reconstruct the fortresses near Paris served as the stimulus for the Jacquerie. The insurrection began on May 28 in the small town of Saint-Leu-d’Esserent (in the Beauvais region) in response to the pillaging of the soldiers. In the next few days, it spread over a considerable area. Most of the insurrectionists were peasants. Artisans, petty traders, and representatives of the rural clergy joined the peasants. The well-to-do townspeople of Compiègne, Clermont, Rouen, Reims, Châlons-sur-Marne, Laon, Soissons, and other cities did not support the peasants, although the urban poor wanted to join them. Certain cities did participate in the movement, including Meaux, Beauvais, Senlis, Montdidier, and Cravant. The insurrectionists razed and burned down castles, houses, and estates of the aristocracy, destroyed documents containing records of the serfs’ obligations, and murdered noblemen. The uprising reached its greatest strength and organization in the Beauvais region and around the cities of Clermont, Compiegne, and Senlis, where Guillaume Cale (from the village of Mello) was operating with an extremely large detachment. In other districts, separate brigades arose, weakly connected to Cale’s. He attempted to unite the peasants, bring organization into their ranks, and enlist as allies the Parisians, who, headed by Etienne Marcel, had risen against the king in the capital. Cale applied to Marcel for aid. Detachments of Parisians, together with the peasants, destroyed several castles which were blockading Paris and preventing the transport of provisions. But when this objective had been attained, the townspeople returned to Paris. The peasants, deprived of their allies, weakly organized, and unprepared for a protracted struggle, were soon defeated. On June 10, near Mello and Montataire (in the Beauvais region), the cavalry army of Charles the Bad, king of Navarre, delivered the decisive blow to the main detachment. Cale was captured and given over to an agonizing execution. Subsequently, the nobility cruelly suppressed the uprising. According to the chroniclers’ evidence, the number of victims of aristocratic repressions reached 20,000 by June 24.

The Jacquerie left a deep mark on French history. It furthered the process of emancipation of the peasants from personal bondage.

SOURCE

Frantsuzskaia derevnia XII-XIV vv. I Zhakeriia: Dokumenty. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935. (Translated from French.)

REFERENCES

Konokotin, A. V. “Zhakeriia 1358 g. vo Frantsii.” Uch. zap. Ivanovskogo gos. ped. instituta, 1964, vol. 35.
Luce, S. Histoire de la Jacquerie. Paris, 1859.

A. V. KONOKOTIN