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By William H. TeBrake

Starting as a sequence of scattered rural riots in past due 1323, peasant rebellion escalated right into a full-scale uprising that ruled public affairs in Flanders for almost 5 years. Following their very own leaders, peasants defied the authority of the count number of Flanders by way of using his officers and their aristocratic allies from the nation-state. In a scourge of revolt, William H. TeBrake has written the 1st full-length account of the uprising.

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Additional resources for A Plague of Insurrection: Popular Politics and Peasant Revolt in Flanders, 1323-1328 (The Middle Ages Series)

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39. Bierbrauer, "Bäuerliche Revolten im Alten Reich," p. 17. On the ability of peasants to plan, see Brooks, "The Organization and Achievements of the Peasants of Kent and Essex in 1381," pp. 247-70. 40. Brooks, "The Organization and Achievements of the Peasants of Kent and Essex in 1381," pp. 249-50; Genicot, Rural Communities in the Medieval West, pp. 79-80. 41. Bierbrauer, "Bäuerliche Revolten im Alten Reich," pp. 17-18. 42. See Tilly, "Retrieving European Lives," pp. 11-52. Page 15 1. Flanders and Its People on the Eve of Revolt The geographical context of peasant revolt in the 1320s was the county of Flanders, occupying what is today the coastal lowland of Belgium and adjacent sections of France and the Netherlands.

The coast itself was neither stable nor continuous, but segmented by a series of broad estuaries at the mouths of rivers and streams. The dunes guarding the coast today have developed only since the high Middle Ages. North of a line from approximately Dunkirk to Dendermonde, soils varied greatly, from low sandy ridges to salt marsh or backwater swamps of heavy clay, with virtually every other possibility in between. Because these soils could be made to produce crops only with great effort, most crop raising in the northern part of the county was practiced on a very small scale, with an actual preference for livestock raising.

Initially it was handed over as a temporary trusteeship designed to hold Flanders to the Peace of Athis-sur-Orge (1305), but in the following decade it was surrendered entirely to French control until it was finally returned to the Flemish counts in the second half of the fourteenth century. At the beginning of the revolt in 1323, therefore, the counts of Flanders controlled all the territory between the North Sea and the Scheldt River from just north of Lille to the river's mouth, as well as the land between the Scheldt and Dender Rivers from Geraardsbergen northward (see the map in Figure 1).

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