The Black Death, also known as the Bubonic plague, struck Europe's population (they were already suffering from overpopulation/malnutrition). The Black Death decimated Europe's population, wiping off 50% of its population. Many blamed poisonous fumes released by Earthquakes. Others used Jews as scapegoats. Appearance of Flagellants = people who beat themselves in ritual penance. France used direct tax on peasants, the taille, resulting in French uprising known as the Jacquerie. As a result of the Blakc Death, popular trade guilds gained political power due to demand in luxury items.