Corvée, or corvée labor, is a term used in feudal societies. It is a type of annual tax that is payable as labor by the serf or villein for the monarch, vassal, overlord or lord of the manor. It was used to complete royal projects, to maintain roads, and to provide labor to maintain the feudal estate.
Today the term is also used for other forms of unpaid mandatory labor, such as that imposed by the government of Myanmar on its citizens. Military conscription is another form of corvée labor.
There were national and local variations, but in broad terms the corvEe proper included work on the lord's portion of the manorial property and many attendant duties.
During the feudalization of the late Roman Empire, the corvEe system was part of the social and economic system, but towns and all individuals were able to liberate themselves by money payment instead of services.
In France the royal corvEe, compulsory work on public roads, was introduced in the 18th cent.
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