jacquerie (zhah-keh-REE) n. a peasant revolt; (capitalized) the 1359 peasant uprising against noble landlords.
Derived from the Old French word jacquerie ("peasantry"), the 1358 rebellion involved tens of thousands of peasants angry over being forced to pay higher taxes amidst the government's inability to protect the peasantry from marauding criminals and mercenaries during the Hundred Years' War.
The term jacquerie has its origin in the name "Jacques," as nobles were in the habit of referring to all peasants with this common name, much like we might use the name "Joe Six-Pack" today. French chronicler Jean Froissart provided a lengthy passage on the 1358 Jacquerie in his Chronicles:
Not long after the King of Navarre had been set free, there were very strange and terrible happenings in several parts of the kingdom of France. They occurred in the region of Beauvais, in Brie and on the Marne, in Valois, in Laonnais, in the fief of Coucy and round Soissons. They began when some of the men from the country towns came together in the Beauvais region. They had no leaders and at first they numbered scarcely a hundred. One of them got up and said that the nobility of France, knights and squires, were disgracing and betraying the realm, and that it would be a good thing if they were all destroyed. At this they all shouted: "He's right! He's right! Same on any man who saves the gentry from being wiped out!"
They banded together at went off, without further deliberation and unarmed except for pikes and knives, to the house of a knight who lived near by. They broke in and killed the knight, with his lady and his children, big and small, and set fire to the house. Next they went to another castle and did much worse; for, having seized the knight and bound him securely to a post, several of them violated his wife and daughter before his eyes. Then they killed the wife, who was pregnant, and the daughter and all the other children, and finally put the knight to death with great cruelty and burned and razed the castle.