Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Rebecca Riots

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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