Rascoala the Last Peasants' Revolt: In Early 1907 the Peasants of Romania Rose Up against Feudal Laws, Wealthy Landowners and the Agents Who Kept Them Living in Penury and Servitude. Markus Bauer Discusses the Legacy of an 'Unbelievable Bloodbath'

By Bauer, Markus | History Today, September 2010 | Go to article overview

Rascoala the Last Peasants' Revolt: In Early 1907 the Peasants of Romania Rose Up against Feudal Laws, Wealthy Landowners and the Agents Who Kept Them Living in Penury and Servitude. Markus Bauer Discusses the Legacy of an 'Unbelievable Bloodbath'


Bauer, Markus, History Today


On February 21st, 1907 around 200 peasants gathered in front of the town hall in Flaminzi in the district of Botosani, northeastern Romania. The farming season had begun and they were due to start cultivation. They had come to negotiate their leasing contracts with local official, Gheorghe Constantinescu, who administered the land of Mochi Fischer, one of the tenant agents (arendasi) and intermediaries of the Romanian landowner Prince Mihalache Dimitrie Sturdza, a relative of the later prime minister Sturdza. Like a large proportion of the arendasi in Moldavia, Fischer was a well-off Jewish immigrant, a factor which would later play a part in the full-scale revolt this incident ignited.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

When Constantinescu failed to turn up for the meeting, the peasants searched until they found him at the home of his brother-in-law. The official's rather unwise reaction was to suggest even harsher terms to the peasants and to beat one of them, a man named Dolhescu. Other peasants, Dumitrache Grosu, Grigore and Trifan Roman and Gheorge Zamfirescu retaliated, seriously injuring Constantinescu, who was lucky to escape with his life.

In the weeks that followed, similar outbreaks of aggression occurred throughout the region and in the neighbouring district of Dorohoi near the borders of Austro-Hungarian Bucovina and Russian Bessarabia. By March the unrest had escalated, sweeping across the south of the country. It was remarkable in the unhindered excess of violence on the part of both the peasants and military and it shook to the core the weak government of King Carol I. When peace was restored at the end of April, aided by a force of 120,000 troops, an estimated 10,000 peasants had been killed.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Romania had won its independence in several stages from 1859 onwards: after the Crimean War, while still part of the Ottoman Empire, a common ruler was elected by the Moldovan and Wallachian nobles for the two Romanian principalities. Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza took several measures to unite the principalities, some of which aimed at improving the agricultural situation. However, a coup led to his dethronement in 1866. He was replaced by the German noble Prince Karl von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who after full independence was established at the Berlin Congress of 1878, was made King Carol I in 1881. Heading the country until his death in 1914, he tried to reconcile the two main political movements, the National-Liberals and the Conservatives.

The great Romanian peasant revolt--or rascoala--of 1907 was the last large-scale rural uprising of its kind in Europe. During the Communist era a simplistic Marxist interpretation presented the revolt as the beginning of a proletarian union of urban workers and peasants. Today it is works of literature and art that keep alive the memory of a dramatic era of unrest, such as the poem by Gheorghe Cosbuc, Noi vrem pamint! ('We want land!'), which articulated the peasants' disaffection as early as 1895, or the 1932 novel Rascoala by Liviu Rebreanu.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In early medieval times the peasants had been joint holders of the village lands and were required to give the headman one tenth of their produce and three days' labour each year. However, with the emergence of a feudal hierarchy in the 13th and 14th centuries, the status of peasants had altered considerably. By the turn of the 20th century subsistence farming was the norm for about 80 per cent of the population. In contrast, over half the agricultural land was in the ownership of a handful of wealthy landowners (boyars), most of whom lived in cities or abroad and were largely absent from their estates. Their land was administered for them by the arendasi, a class of wealthy tenants who paid a fixed rent (arenda) to the landlords. The arendasi made a good living for themselves, profiting in the process from leasing the land to peasants. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rascoala the Last Peasants' Revolt: In Early 1907 the Peasants of Romania Rose Up against Feudal Laws, Wealthy Landowners and the Agents Who Kept Them Living in Penury and Servitude. Markus Bauer Discusses the Legacy of an 'Unbelievable Bloodbath'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.