Question: Is there any economic reason they would be unable to do this / some unforeseen way it would ultimately come back to bite them? Ultimately they want to let their peasants live rent-free in return for volunteering to fight when needed / provide labor to fix up the town and other benefits.
Note: military / strategic and external factors, including whether they can resist the King and remain free are not at issue. the King is going to attempt to reconquer the rebellious land. But due to winter and logistical reasons the soonest that can be started is 6 months later. In the interim, the rebels will have a free hand to conduct their social experiment
A large city (~1 million) and it surrounding province has recently overthrown their rulers, and for good measure the other minor nobles, landlords, debt collectors and anyone else they felt were preying on them. Assumptions of this scenario are:
- All land in the Kingdom, including this now former Duchy are/were ultimately the King's land, following the pattern of Medieval land ownership rights. Parcels of it are awarded by hereditary titles to the Barons, Dukes and other major nobility in the Kingdom. In return the King is entitled to call on these nobles for fighting men and other aid in times of war. Normally the King does not have taxes except to address specific needs and these are temporary in nature.
- Said nobles employ tenant farmers to work the fields, charging rent to build their wealth in the form of produce or in-kind labor. In the province that rebelled, the highest noble imposed a permanent provincial tax, and the minor nobles in the province are shifting the burden of this cost onto the peasants to protect their interests. Similar situation to the urban dwellers of the city, with needlessly high rents (50%) charged.
- The now free province claims the land for themselves, and as a way to inspire loyalty in the uneasy population has exiled the nobles and taken their property. They want to abolish rent and debts related to these lands completely.
- The free province has an abundance of coin, and is able to supplement this with duties on trade as merchant ships regularly trade at this city.
- This is a mid to late medieval era (1200s - 1300s), pre-industrial civilization.