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Medieval Britain



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  • 1. MEDIEVAL BRITAIN (1189 – 1485) History of British Social and Culture By Yusuf Kurniawan, SS, MA
  • 2. Overview
    • During the period of 1189-1485 Britain was not safe because of uprisings, invasions, civil wars and riots.
    • In Wales people were scared of the invasion of the British people.
    • In Ireland, the chieftains fought against each other and against the invasion of Normans (from Normandy/ France today)
    • In Scotland, people faced threats from Scandinavian and Irish raiders, and by the English.
  • 3. Other Threats
    • In fact, there was a more threatening danger, i.e. the problem of famine.
    • It was worsened by the plague, later known as Black Death.
    • Because of the disease, one-third of the British population perished (another source mentioned nearly a half).
  • 4. Black Death
    • It began in the East, transmitted by fleas traveling on rats.
    • Arriving in Europe by an Italian merchant ship.
    • By 1340 it had reached farthermost parts of Scotland
    • Rich people were panic, fled to out of town
    • Doctors got no medicine.
    • The epidemic lasted for about two years. By the end
    • Scientists and historians are still unsure about the origins of plague. Medieval European writers believed that it began in China, which they considered to be a land of almost magical happenings. Chroniclers wrote that it began with earthquakes, fire falling from the sky, and plagues of vermin. Like medieval travel literature, these accounts are based on a number of myths about life in areas outside of Europe. It now seems most probable that infected rodents migrated from the Middle East into southern Russia, the region between the Black and Caspian seas. Plague was then spread west along trade routes. There were epidemics among the Tartars in southern Russia in 1346. Plague was passed from them to colonies of Italians living in towns along the Black Sea. Merchants probably carried the disease from there to Alexandria in Egypt in 1347; it then moved to Damascus and Libya in 1348, and Upper Egypt in 1349. Venetian and Genoese sailors are known to have brought the plague to Europe.
    • Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
  • 6. The Brighter Side
    • Despite the dark side, there was the brighter side because of the plague, i.e. there were lesser mouth to feed because many people died.
    • Consequently, life began to improve gradually
    • Foreign trade (with Europe) increased.
    • Towns grew bigger. Guilds (trade organizations) of craftsmen controlled city affairs and brought in greater wealth.