Across the whole of France the 16th and 17th centuries were an unsettled time. The Dordogne was no exception and these were difficult times in the region.

Centuries of battles had weakened the region, the Black death was rampant, and there were many years in which the harvests were poor. Food shortages, price rises and falling wages all made life very difficult for the poor, while the rich appeared to get ever richer, based in part on a series of unpopular taxes. Meanwhile the region experienced enormous population growth, further compounding the problems.

It is hard to imagine the desperation of a people who can simply see no escape from the terrible poverty, the high mortality rate and the daily struggle to survive.

The final straw was the imposition of a heavy salt tax on the region, and many people were living in constant destitution, virtually enslaved to the landowners and state.

This poverty also encouraged bands of 'pirates' to cross the countryside, pillaging villages as they went. The villagers were especially aggrieved that the landowners, despite receiving large amounts of tax, were unable to prevent these attacks.


This was more than could be tolerated and in 1594 there was a peasant revolt, touching much of the region between Bergerac and Sarlat.

A small victory was obtained, with a slight lifting of the taxes, but the victory was short-lived and for many years there were frequent uprisings against the landowners, almost always met with excessive force and reprisals. The revolts usually pitted peasants armed with pitchforks and agricultural implements against much better armed forces, so the outcome was not surprising.


These uprisings continued more or less sporadically until the time of the French Revolution. Limeuil was  at the centre of the peasant revolt of 1594, and was involved in further uprisings in the 17th century.

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