Serfdom became progressively less common

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Serfdom became progressively less common

Post by jancancook on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:22 pm

Serfdom became progressively less common through the Middle Ages, particularly after the Black Death reduced the rural population and increased the bargaining power of workers. Furthermore, the lords of many manors were willing (for payment) to manumit ("release") their serfs. Serfdom had largely died out in England by 1500 as a personal status, but land held by serf tenure (unless enfranchised) continued to be held by what was thenceforth known as a copyhold tenancy, which was not completely abolished until 1925 (although it was whittled away during the 19th and early 20th centuries). During the Late Middle Ages, peasant unrest led to outbreaks of violence against landlords. In May 1381 the English peasants revolted because of the heavy tax placed upon them by Parliament. There were similar occurrences at around the same time in Castille, Germany, northern France, Portugal, and Sweden. Although these peasant revolts were often successful, it usually took a long time before legal systems were changed.

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