Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology
Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.
Compiled by Ulli Diemer
February 16, 1525
Peasant villages in the vicinity of Memmingen in southwestern Germany rebel against the oppression they are suffering at the hands of the nobility and government authorities. They publish a list of grievances and demands and elect officers to represent them. On March 6, peasants from different communities gather in Memmingen and adopt a program of demands, including an end to the Great Tithe they are forced to pay to the Church, the abolition of serfdom and death tolls, the right to fish and hunt; the restoration of the forests, pastures, and privileges that the nobility has seized for itself, and an end to arbitrary justice and administration.
The upper classes react with savage fury: over the next few months, in the course of what becomes known as the German Peasant War, their forces slaughter between 100,000 and 300,000 of the poorly armed and militarily inexperienced peasants.