Second Brotherhood - Rent Protests and Peasant Discontent

Rent Protests and Peasant Discontent

At the beginning of 1693 the duke of Gandia and other noblemen went to Madrid complain of the reluctance of its vassals to pay Sunday rents. They also complained of Fèlix Vilanova, who had already participated as an instigator of the revolt at Camp de Morvedre in 1689. Felix seemed to be provoking the peasants of the Marina Comarque by telling its noblemen that there were some documents and ancient privileges which exempted the peasants from paying them rents.

After a violent clash between protesters and the police in Pedreguer, the viceroy proposed to create a board of lawyers in Valencia where the legal arguments could be set forth. In this board the protesters alleged certain rights granted by James I and his successors, but they were not accepted for lack of documentary evidence. The protesters then asked directly for a complete cessation of the rents. The demand was made by Francesc Garcia, a well-to-do farmer and one of the main leaders of the protest movement, together with Feliu Rubio i Bartomeu Pelegrí.

As May arrived, the peasants refused to pay the rents due. In Carlet, the vassals of the Earl of Carlet refused to pay. For the second time, the troops of the viceroy had to intervene to bring the protesters to heel. Discontent spread.

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