Jacquerie, a French servile insurrection of the 14th century, called after its leader, Guil-laume Caillet, or Charlet, of Clermont, who assumed the name Jacques Bonhomme, which the barons had long derisively applied to the peasants on account of their meek submission to oppression. Smarting under the insolence and rapacity of the nobles and driven to despair by the burdens and vicissitudes of the war with England, and particularly by the disastrous battle of Poitiers, the peasants rose in the vicinity of Beauvais, May 21, 1358, and the insurgents in various parts of the country speedily numbered more than 100,000, comprising besides the poor peasantry some of the well-to-do middle classes. They destroyed over 200 castles and mansions, and spread terror far and wide. The duchess of Orleans and 300 other ladies sought refuge in Meaux. Here the insurgents were overwhelmed early in June by the troops of the nobles, who massacred their force of 9,000 men, and put to death the mayor of Meaux, who had enabled them to enter the town. The peasants never recovered from this disaster. Many of them surrendered, and Jacques Bonhomme and his companions were treacherously tortured and slain by Charles the Bad, king of Navarre, who routed the rest of their followers.
The insurrection, though lasting barely three weeks, was attended with great horrors, upward of 20,000 peasants being killed, and for a long time they continued to be persecuted. - See L' Histoire veritable de Jacques Bonhomme, by A. Thierry (published in the Censeur europeen, Paris, 1820); La Jacquerie, scenes feodales, by Prosper Merimee (1828); and Histoire de la Jacquerie, by Simeon Luce (1860).