Peasants' War (1798)

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Peasants' War
Part of the French Revolutionary Wars [lower-alpha 1]
The Peasant War.jpg
Peasants gathering, Constantin Meunier (1875)
Date12 October 1798 – 5 December 1798
(1 month and 23 days)
Location
Southern Netherlands annexed by the French Republic
[lower-alpha 2]
Result French republican victory
Belligerents
Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg French Republic Blanc croix rouge.svg Counter-revolutionary peasants
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Claude-Sylvestre Colaud

Blanc croix rouge.svg Pieter Corbeels   Skull and Crossbones.svg
Blanc croix rouge.svg Emmanuel Rollier  [ fr ]

Blanc croix rouge.svg Charles de Loupoigne  [ fr ] 
Casualties and losses
In Flanders, c.15,000 dead
In Luxembourg, 200–300 [1]

The Peasants' War (French : Guerre des Paysans, Dutch : Boerenkrijg, German : Klöppelkrieg, Luxembourgish : Klëppelkrich) was a peasant revolt in 1798 against the French occupiers of the Southern Netherlands, a region which now includes Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of Germany. The French had annexed the region in 1795 and control of the region was officially ceded to the French after the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797. [2] [3] The revolt is considered part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Dutch language A West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third-most-widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Contents

Motivations for war

After the Southern Netherlands was annexed by France, the French revolutionaries began to implement their policies regarding the Catholic Church. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy required that priests take an oath of allegiance to the state. Priests who refused such an oath (non-juring priests) were considered to be enemies of the state and could be removed from their positions and homes. [2] Additionally, in early 1798, the French Council of Five Hundred passed a law requiring compulsory military service. This law ordered the conscription of men between the ages of 20 and 25 in all French territories. General conscription like this was a relatively new product of the French Revolution, and was met with anger by the men who were forced into service. [4]

Southern Netherlands Historical region in Belgium

The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the Low Countries largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied then annexed by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of smaller states that were never ruled by Spain or Austria: the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, the Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy, the County of Bouillon, the County of Horne and the Princely Abbey of Thorn. The Southern Netherlands were part of the Holy Roman Empire until the whole area was annexed by Revolutionary France.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was a law passed on 12 July 1790 during the French Revolution, that caused the immediate subordination of the Catholic Church in France to the French government.

Council of Five Hundred lower house of the legislature of France during the period commonly known as the Directory (Directoire)

The Council of Five Hundred, or simply the Five Hundred, was the lower house of the legislature of France under the Constitution of the Year III. It existed during the period commonly known as the Directory (Directoire), from 26 October 1795 until 9 November 1799: roughly the second half of the period generally referred to as the French Revolution.

By region

Flanders

The majority of the conflict during the Peasants' War occurred in Flanders (Lys and Scheldt départements) and Brabant (Deux-Nèthes and Dyle départements). Referred to as the Boerenkrijg, it is referenced by some historians as a Belgian national revolt, and an indication of a desire for independence by Belgium. [2] [3]

Lys (department) former French department (1795-1814)

Lys was a department of the French First Republic and French First Empire in present-day Belgium. It was named after the river Lys (Leie). It was created on 1 October 1795, when the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège were officially annexed by the French Republic. Before the reunion with France, its territory was part of the County of Flanders. Its Chef-lieu was Bruges.

Escaut (department) former French department (1795-1814)

Escaut was a department of the French First Republic and French First Empire in present-day Belgium and Netherlands. It was named after the river Scheldt, which is called the Escaut in French. It was created on 1 October 1795, when the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège were officially annexed by the French Republic. Before the reunion with France, its territory was part of the County of Flanders and the Dutch Republic (Staats-Vlaanderen).

Deux-Nèthes former French department (1795-1814)

Deux-Nèthes was a department of the First French Republic and of the First French Empire in present-day Belgium and the Netherlands. It was named after two branches of the river Nete. The southern part of its territory corresponds more or less with the present-day Belgian province of Antwerp. It was created on 1 October 1795, when the Austrian Netherlands were officially annexed by the French Republic. Its territory was the northern part of the former duchy of Brabant. After the annexation of the Kingdom of Holland in 1810, the department was expanded with the western half of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.

Episode from the Peasants' War by Theophile Lybaert Theophile Lybaert - Episode from the Peasants' War.jpg
Episode from the Peasants' War by Théophile Lybaert

In Flanders the revolt was somewhat organized, with the people seeking aid from foreign nations such as England and Prussia. The revolution began on 12 October 1798, with peasants taking up arms against the French in Overmere. Initially the rebellion was somewhat successful, however, lacking proper arms and training it was crushed less than two months later, on 5 December, in Hasselt. An estimated 5,000–10,000 people were killed during the uprising. Additionally, there were 170 executions of the leaders of the rebellion. [5]

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital first in Königsberg and then, in 1701, in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Hasselt Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Hasselt is a Flemish city and municipality, and capital of the province of Limburg in Belgium. The Hasselt municipality includes the original city of Hasselt, plus the old communes of Sint-Lambrechts-Herk, Wimmertingen, Kermt, Spalbeek, Kuringen, Stokrooie, Stevoort and Runkst, as well as the hamlets and parishes of Kiewit, Godsheide and Rapertingen.

Luxembourg

In Luxembourg (Forêts département), the revolt was called Klëppelkrich. This revolt quickly spread, consuming most of West Eifel. [6] The primary combatants in Luxembourg were the peasantry. The middle and upper classes were not driven to revolt as the anti-clericalism and the modernisation brought by the French Revolution were somewhat beneficial to them. [6]

Forêts former French department (1795-1814)

Forêts[fɔ.ʁɛ] was a department of the French First Republic, and later the First French Empire, in present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. Its name, meaning 'forests', comes from the Ardennes forests. It was formed on 24 October 1795, after the Southern Netherlands had been annexed by France on 1 October. Before the occupation, the territory was part of the Duchy of Luxembourg and the Duchy of Bouillon. Its capital was Luxembourg City.

West Eifel mountains in Germany

The West Eifel refers to that part of the Eifel mountains in Germany that is centred on the town of Prüm and reaches as far as the border with Belgium and Luxembourg. It is not geographically precisely defined however, overlapping by about 60% with the Schnee Eifel), whilst geologically its northern half is part of the Vulkaneifel and its southern half part of the South Eifel.

Anti-clericalism is opposition to religious authority, typically in social or political matters. Historical anti-clericalism has mainly been opposed to the influence of Roman Catholicism. Anti-clericalism is related to secularism, which seeks to remove the church from all aspects of public and political life, and its involvement in the everyday life of the citizen.

Lacking both financial support from the middle classes, and proper military training, the peasants were quickly put down by the French occupation force. Ninety-four insurgents were tried and of those, 42 were executed. [7]

In later culture

See also

Notes

  1. In between the War of the First Coalition and the War of the Second Coalition
  2. Modern-day Belgium, Luxembourg and German border lands

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References

  1. "De Verlaf vum Klëppelkrich" (in Luxembourgish). Histoprim. Retrieved 10 September 2007.
  2. 1 2 3 Andre de Vries (16 May 2007). Flanders: A Cultural History. Oxford University Press. pp. 10–. ISBN   978-0-19-983733-5.
  3. 1 2 Ganse, Alexander. "The Flemish Peasants War of 1798". World History at KMLA. Korean Minjok Leadership Academy. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  4. Trausch (2002), p. 205
  5. Orts 1863, p. 211
  6. 1 2 Kreins (2003), p. 66
  7. Brown, Howard (June 2005). "Revolt and Repression in the Midi Toulousain". French History. 19 (2): 252. doi:10.1093/fh/cri013.

Further reading