Saturday, May 13, 2006

Daughters of Rebecca were activist men in drag

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1839 The Rebecca Riots began, Efailwen, Wales

Led by a huge man named Thomas Rees, a group of men dressed in women's clothing, calling themselves the Merched Beca ('Daughters of Rebecca'), burned down a hated toll-gate at Efailwen (Yr Efail Wen), Carmarthenshire, Wales. A few weeks later they destroyed the tollgate at Maesgwynne.

The Rebecca Riots, as they were known, were direct actions by poor Welsh tenant farmers and farm workers against turnpikes -- gates set across roads to prevent passage until a toll had been paid. Until that time, most tollkeepers had allowed locals to pass through for free, but now Thomas Bullin, a wealthy turnpike owner, made sure that all who passed through, paid.

There had been a bad crop that year, as well as a rapid increase in population and the imposition of a money economy upon a rural society dominated by a small landowning class. The tolls were the last straw ...

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