German Peasants War, Swabia 1524-1526

A.) Prehistory

See German Peasants War, 1524-1525
Swabia (in German : Schwaben), ever since the demise of the Staufen Dynasty in 1256, was politically fragmented. The largest territory within Swabia was the Duchy of Württemberg. Other territories of importance included the Princebishopric of Augsburg, the Abbey of Kempten, the counties of Burgau (Habsburg), Breisgau (Habsburg; the core territory of Vorderösterreich), Fürstenberg, Waldburg, numerous immediate cities, among them Augsburg, Ulm, Rottweil, Memmingen, Kaufbeuren, Lindau, Reutlingen, Esslingen.

B.) The Revolt

On April 30th the peasants of St. Blasien, an abbey ruling a small territory in the southern Black Forest region, refused to pay feudal dues. On June 24th, peasants took up arms and formed hordes at Lupfen and Stühlingen; they took an oath and elected a leader. At Schaffhausen September 10th 39 articles were adopted in negotiations with the territorial lords. This compromise was rejected by the peasants of the Klettgau, near Waldshut, in September; the burghers of Waldshut (where Balthasar Hubmaier introduced the Reformation) joined in. The rebellion turned violent and spread; St. Blasien Abbey was occupied by the peasants.
Peasants in Upper Swabia rose in January 1525, adopting the 12 Articles of Memmingen; others formed near Ulm (the Baltringer Haufe, 10.000 - 12.000 men strong, headed by Ulrich Schmid, near Lindau, in the Allgäu; in April, peasants, lead by Matern Feuerbacher, took up arms in the Duchy of Württemberg, where Duke Ulrich (exiled in 1519) attempted to exploit the situation to regain his Duchy, with the support of the Hegau peasants. Stuttgart opened her gates April 22nd; Duke Ulrich was defeated May 12th 1525 near Böblingen.
Truchsess von Waldburg, Austrian governor of Württemberg and commander of the Swabian League forces fighting the peasants, expelled the Baltringen Haufe from the Ried, then defeated the Leipheim Haufe (c. 15,000 strong) April 4th, then the Baltringen Haufe April 11th/12th; on April 17th, Truchsess concluded an agreement with the Lake and Baltringer Haufe.
On May 23rd the Hegau Haufe (horde) took the city of Freiburg im Breisgau. Their leader, Hans Müller, was bought off by the enemy and deserted his force, which then dispersed; on July 17th Freiburg deserted the cause of the peasants. On July 19th to 21st the Allgäu Haufe, c. 22.000 men strong, was defeated by Truchsess von Waldburg, commanding a force about half that size.
In December 1525, Waldshut was taken by Austrian forces. On April 8th 1526, Austrian troops hanged Kunz Jehle, leader of the Klettgau peasants; enraged peasants burnt down St. Blasien abbey on April 11th. Reconstruction began only in 1537.

Friedrich Engels, The Peasant War in Swabia and Franconia, from Marx Engels Archive
Vor 475 Jahren zundeten sie das Kloster an, from Ahnengalerie Jehle
Balthasar Hubmaier, from BBKL
Wunnenstein, from lb online, in German
Sebastian Lotzer, from BBKL, in German
Christoph Schappeler, from BBKL, in German
DOCUMENTS Die 12 Artikel der Bauern (Memmingen Articles), from Marx Engels Archive, in German; from Staatsarchiv Marburg, in German
Demands of the Klettgau Peasants, from Documents on the Peasants' War, posted at UOregon, scroll down; scroll further down for Wendel Hiplers Agenda for the "Peasant Parliament" in Heilbronn, May 1525
REFERENCE Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation c.1500-1618, Harlow (Essex): Longman 1998, pp.75-81, KMLA Lib.Sign. 274.06 GB 121

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 25th 2004, last revised on November 17th 2004

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