Masaniello (mäzänyĕlˈlō) [key], 1620?–1647, Neapolitan revolutionist, whose original name was Tommaso Aniello. A fisherman, he led a revolt of the lower classes, burdened by high taxes, against the Spanish rulers of Naples. Tumults broke out in 1647 and soon became so serious that the Spanish viceroy came to terms with Masaniello, promised the reforms demanded, and recognized him as captain general. Demented by his sudden success, Masaniello was killed shortly afterward either by agents of the Spanish viceroy or by his own disillusioned supporters. The revolution was soon repressed.
More on Masaniello from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Italian History: Biographies