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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A peasant, derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, the countryside or region, which itself derives from the Latin pagus, country district, is an agricultural worker with roots in the countryside in which he or she dwells, either working for others or, more specifically, owning or renting and working by his or her own labour a small plot of ground. They are also referred to in England as a "cottager". The term peasant today is sometimes used in a pejorative sense for impoverished farmers.

Peasants typically make up the majority of the agricultural labour force in a Pre-industrial society, depending on the cultivation of their land: without stockpiles of provisions they thrive or starve according to the most recent harvest (illustration, above right). Pre-industrial societies have diminished with the advent of globalization and as such there are considerably less peasants to be found in rural areas throughout the world. However, there are still peasant populations in Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, India, China, Europe and various parts of Southeast Asia.

Popular revolts in late medieval Europe

See also

Other terms for "peasant"

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Peasant" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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