The Height of Medieval Civilization
Growth of Towns Warfare declined in western Europe during the 11th and 12th century Manor economy became more productive Population increased Trade revived and towns increased in size Peasants and nobles became aware of a larger world
Where are the Towns? During the early Middle Ages trade declined, small Roman towns remained Vikings kept some trade links open between old towns Many old roman roads were used for trade
Revival of trade Decline of feudal warfare
Easier to trade using old Roman roads and rivers Wool was the main trade item. Towns became the collecting and distributing point for these items English/Flemish…. sheep Antwerp and Bruges….weavers Milan and Florence…. trade cloth
Italian fleets gain control of the Mediterranean from the Muslims
During the Crusades trade expanded into the east. Travel was expensive Barter system was gradually replaced by a money economy.
Trade Fairs and the Hanseatic League
Annual Trade fairs (Champagne, France) Nobles provided protection, rented booths, and hired money changers Fairs became a magnet for goods and ideas
Trade fairs become elaborate events
Mixing place of customs, languages, and goods. Gradual decline due to competition from the Hanseatic League, but also the rents were too high
Hanseatic League Group of over 80 towns/cites fronting the Baltic.
Dominate shipping lanes of Northern Europe Provided protection, made coinage, and treaties
Lubeck: located on the southern shores of the Baltic
Growth of Towns Growth in trade, encouraged by the Trade Fairs helped Towns grow Merchants stayed and opened inns for travellers Bakers, shoemakers, carpenters and tailors settled in towns to provide needed goods and services Rural peasants sold extra produce to townspeople Towns specialize, Flanders produces wool, other lace or leather.
Chartering a Town
Towns located on lands already owned by lords or the church
Fees paid to lord or church As towns grew they demanded charters or their rights guaranteed Charter gave towns control over their own affairs: taxes, property,courts, and grant freedom to serfs Population of towns consisted of serf, peasants merchants, artisans Townspeople called bourgeoisie (Fr.) burgesses (Eng.) burghers (Ger.)
Medieval Guilds Merchants and artisans given the right to form associations Governed prices, wages, standards, disputes and imports/exports Only guild members could practice their trade.
Guild Practices Protected members ‘Just Price’ for goods
Set work week, hours, pay Social welfare programs Entertainment and religious feasts Training ; apprentice, journeyman and master craftsman. Could take 7 to 20 years Guilds prevented competition Passed down through the family
Town Life Many towns with few residents Walled, gated
Town centre with church, town hall, market, Guild quarters Waste, poor sanitation system Fires a problem Epidemics What’s good about towns? Ideas, could make money, entertainment
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