On This Day
1349 – Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remaining Jews are forcibly removed from Strasbourg.
The Strasbourg massacre occurred on February 14, 1349, when several hundred Jews were publicly burnt to death, and the rest of them expelled from the city as part of the Black Death persecutions. It was one of the first and worst pogroms in pre-modern history.
Starting in the spring of 1348, pogroms against Jews had occurred in European cities, starting in Toulon. By November of that year they spread via Savoy to German-speaking territories. In January 1349, burnings of Jews took place in Basel and Freiburg, and on 14 February the Jewish community in Strasbourg was destroyed.
This event was heavily linked to a revolt by the guilds five days previous, the consequences of which were the displacement of the master tradesmen, a reduction of the power of the patrician bourgeoisie, who had until then been ruling almost exclusively, and an increase in the power of the groups that were involved in the revolt. The aristocratic families of Zorn and Müllenheim, which had been displaced from the council and their offices in 1332, recovered most of their power, the guilds, which until then had no means of political participation, could occupy the most important position in the city, that of the Ammanmeister. The revolt had occurred because a large part of the population on the one hand believed the power of the master tradesmen was too great, particularly that of the then-Ammanmeister Peter Swarber, and on the other hand, there was a desire to put an end to the policy of protecting Jews under Peter Swarber.
Born On This Day
1838 – Margaret E. Knight, American inventor (d. 1914)
Margaret Eloise Knight (February 14, 1838 – October 12, 1914) was an American inventor, notably of the flat-bottomed paper bag. She has been called “the most famous 19th-century woman inventor”. She was working in a paper-bag factory when she devised a new way to put together the bags. She founded the Eastern Paper Bag Company in 1870, creating paper bags for groceries similar in form to the ones that would be used in later generations.
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