14.2 - Trade ,Towns, And Financial Revolution
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14.2 - Trade ,Towns, And Financial Revolution

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A brief overview of the development of trade, towns, and finances during the Middle Ages in Europe.

A brief overview of the development of trade, towns, and finances during the Middle Ages in Europe.

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    14.2 - Trade ,Towns, And Financial Revolution 14.2 - Trade ,Towns, And Financial Revolution Presentation Transcript

    • Trade ,Towns, and Financial Revolution
      • Objectives:
      • Be able to describe the three causes for food production that was greater in quantity and quality and how they led to it.
      • Know what guilds are and the three step process to joining a guild.
      • Know about Medieval finances.
      • Know why towns became bigger and more important and what they’re effect was on the feudal system.
      • More food! Mmmmm… food.
      • Three things start happening in the Middle Ages that enable greater food production.
      • Global warming!
        • Yep, it can be a good thing. From about 800-1300, Europe’s climate was warmer than usual.
        • Not sure why… it may be connected to greater solar activity. It certainly wasn’t because of cars, though I suppose the transportation of the day had their own emissions.
        • Anyway, the result is a longer growing season and crops can be grown in northern areas that are normally too cold or have to short a season for crops. That means more food.
        • Interestingly, this is now seen as a bad thing in Europe. Some speculate that if the current global warming continues, that the Mediterranean tourist industry will suffer.
      • Horsies
        • Farmers typically used oxen for plowing. They were cheaper to maintain than horses because they could survive off of poor quality grains and hay. Those diva horses were high maintenance and wanted better stuff.
        • Not that horses weren’t desirable. They were twice as fast as oxen. The other problem was the horse harness.
    • This is the original harness derived from the Roman design. Because of the placement of the top strap and that the pull lines were at the top, the harness had the unfortunate habit of choking the horse if it pulled too hard. The next-gen harness (the breast harness) was better but the breast strap could still ride up and choke the horse.
    • So along comes the horse collar. It fits around the horse’s head with the pull lines at the sides. This puts the pulling pressure on the shoulders and breast of the horse, and off its neck. The horse can now be used as a good farm implement.
    •  
      • The three-field system
        • The tradition form of farming is that in a particular holding, there would be two fields. In a given year, you’d farm one and leave the other fallow (to avoid exhausting the soil). The next year, you’d switch and farm the other field while leaving the first fallow, etc.
        • Then it occurred to somebody to use three fields instead.
        • You’d use one field for a winter crop such as wheat or rye, the second field for a spring crop of oats, barley, peas, or beans (legumes were good for returning nitrogen to the soil which grains plants take… not that they knew this), and then leave the third fallow.
        • The first benefit of this system is that in a given year you were farming 2/3 of your land instead of just half. That means more food.
        • The second benefit is that the greater variety of food was better for people and increased their nutritional input.
        • The third benefit is that you could grow crops like oats and barley that you could use to feed the diva horses, which in turn could be used for farming.
      • The overall result of these three things was more food and better nutrition. Those result in more people since the land will feed more folks and they aren’t as likely to die. This is what happened in Europe.
      • Trade increased
      • There were more trade routes opening up, but there was also more than this that led to trade.
      • Guilds
      • A guild was composed of people who practiced the same craft. So you could have a blacksmith guild, a baker guild, a butcher guild, tailor guild, a cooper guild, etc., in a given town.
      • The guild controlled how much people involved in the craft were paid and at what its crafts were priced.
      • It also controlled who could sell the items related to its craft in its town. If you weren’t part of the tailor guild, you couldn’t sell clothes, for example. This was often a legal rule, not just a custom.
      • If you wanted to be part of a guild, you first became an apprentice. As such, you’d work under a master craftsman for five to nine years, learning the trade.
        • After that, you’d become a journeyman and travel to other places to work under other masters. This not only helped you get experience, but it unofficially allowed for the transference of knowledge and new techniques among different places.
        • Finally, you’d choose your town, apply to the guild and produce a masterpiece: a fine example of your craft. You’d then become a master, pay some dues, and join the guild. Congrats.
      • The advantage of the guild is that it created standards for its craft and also exercised quality control. If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t peddle your wares in the town.
      • Finances
      • The Catholic Church didn’t allow Christians to charge interest on loans. This kinda discouraged lending any money at all.
      • Jews, however, were not bound by this and would loan money. This was one of the few activities available to them since they were not allowed to own land, be in a guild, or do a number of other things.
        • The Jewish people in Europe, therefore, never entered into the feudal system and they formed the early banking entities.
        • Quite ironically, the vicious stereotype of Jews being greedy moneylenders and bankers was partially the result of the stereotype’s founders’ own discrimination.
      • Towns and cities
      • Around this time, towns and cities started becoming important again. Europe’s population went from 30 million to 42 million between 1000 and 1150. They had to go somewhere.
      • As trade increased, the towns also became more important trade and production centers.
      • They thus gained in size and influence as people moved to them. Serfs would run away to them and become free.
      • The townspeople also started agitating for rights from their feudal lords. They starting breaking away from the traditional feudal system.
      • The towns and cities weren’t pretty. They were tightly packed and smelly. Refuse (including human waste) were tossed out into the streets. People didn’t bathe. Houses were firetraps.
      • The towns also grew haphazardly according to trails, walking paths, and herd routes. There was no centralized city planning or grid layouts of streets. You can still this in old European cities where there seems to be no rationale behind street layouts. Observe:
    • New York City Paris Vs.
    • London