Wat Tyler Leads Peasants’ Revolt (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Wat Tyler leads a peasants’ revolt, consolidating agrarian discontent in this major popular protest against an oppressive tax that eventually brings about the demise of villeinage in England.
Summary of Event
Wat Tyler was the leader of the Peasants’ Revolt, which lasted from late May to the end of June, 1381. It was an outcome of the growing conflict between landlords and tenants since the Black Death (bubonic plague) of the mid-century, declining population, and the consequent shortage of laborers. Landowners before the epidemic used to charge high rents for leasing their lands, and pay low wages to men eager for a livelihood. After the plague, the scarcity of labor threatening a rise in wages led to the Ordinance of Laborers of 1349 and the Statute of 1351, which limited mobility of labor and pegged wage rates at the 1346 level. These measures provoked agricultural unrest. From 1372, basic food prices fell as a result of improved harvests as well as a declining population in the wake of later outbreaks of plague, but wages did not drop, thus threatening the profit margins of the manorial landlords. Consequently, there were attempts to control wages by law, and these efforts contributed to the outbreak of the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381.
Another contributing factor to the revolt was a crisis of confidence in government, generated partly by England’s failures in the so-called Hundred...
(The entire section is 1558 words.)
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