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Summary: The Century of Peasants’ Wars in Austria from 1513 until 1626 Part II

Horst Pleiner

During the last years of the 16th Century peasants in Lower Austria permanently increasing strains and suppression lead to extensive rebellions of the, which could be crushed after several years of eventful fighting. It turned out that an undisciplined and poorly equipped army of peasants, which was hardly trained for warfare, was unable to fight back, to some extent, even numerically much inferior detachments of lansquenets on foot or modern cavalry and artillery.

After this, from 1601 until 1648, there was a second series of serious rebellions, a fight for justice and freedom of worship, in the course of which the "common” people reacted against the difficulties caused by the beginning era of Absolutism. It began in 1601with the uprising in the Salzkammergut, where the economically important proceeds from the monopoly of salt were at stake, followed by the tax strike in the Mondsee area, and the resistance against the Bajuvarian invasion of 1620, which was supposed to support the breakthrough of the Counter-Reformation.

The "Frankenburg Dice Game", in the course of which Protestant peasants, in the absence of their ringleaders who had escaped, had to throw dice for their lives, lead to the Upper Austrian Peasants’ War of 1626, in the course of which poorly armed and untrained peasants, led by Stefan Fadinger and Christoph Zeller, after initial successes were destroyed by imperial and Bajuvarian troops.

Some smaller disturbances in the Enns valley in 1627, and renewed uprisings in Upper Austria in 1632, both of peasants in Lower Austria which were nurtured by the vain hope for an intervention of the Protestant side in the Thirty Years’ War, initiated the end of the uprising of the "man in the street”.

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Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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