The increase in population that began in the early Middle Ages broke through the limits of existing farming methods and resulted in famine, social conflict, and peasant revolts.
The Black Death, the famous mid-fourteenth-century outbreak of the plague, killed as many as 25% of the people of Europe.
The rule of the Muslim Tartars and Turks made Islam more dangerous than at any other time since the original Arab conquests.
The crises did not stop the evolution of civilization in western Europe.
Merchants reinvested their profits in industry and banking as well as trade, so that a capitalist sector of the economy began to appear alongside the agrarian and guild-based economy of the Middle Ages.
The invention of three-masted sailing ships, firearms, printing presses, and mechanical clocks was made in order to serve the needs of this new economy, and helped by its ability to mobilize resources and create markets.
For the first time in the history of the world, Europe has technological leadership thanks to inventions built on inspiration from Islam and the Far East.
The way in which rulers govern their countries was changed by capitalism and new technology.
Rulers began to rely on taxes and loans from bankers as well as on the services of vassals.
The mounted knights were defeated by new infantry weapons.
The castles of nobles were vulnerable to attack because of the invention of cannon, as well as being too expensive for rulers to afford.
The Italian city-states came under the rule of efficient despotic governments that practiced the naked pursuit and use of power.
The rulers of western European countries began to build up centralized governments, hire mercenary soldiers, and collect taxes directly from their people.
The feudal idea was that rulers could not do things without the consent of their subjects.
In order to get the support of their subjects for their new measures, rulers in many countries began to summon the English Parliament.
Increased contact with the Far East, the capi talist pursuit of profit, and the competitive ambitions of powerful western European rulers all led to the exploration of new routes across the Atlantic Ocean to distant continents.
The explorers succeeded in their original goal of finding routes to the Far East that would circumvent Islam, but also came into contact with the civilizations of the Western Hemisphere, which were less advanced than those of the Eastern Hemisphere.
The result was a change in the position of Christian Europe.
The capitalists of western Europe made a lot of money.
The region's governments battled each other for control of the world's trade and empire.
Christianity of western Europe, both Protestant and Catholic, became a worldwide religion for the first time.
Western civilization broke out from Europe across the oceans to spread its influence around the globe as the eastern European countries became well organized and strong enough to conquer the Tartars and hold off the Turks.
The events of the years that followed accelerated the process of transforming European institutions.
The fourteenth century was similar to the fifth century b.c.
in terms of turmoil and disaster.
Social unrest and disease epidemic threatened the very foundations of the political and economic order, while the Asiatic invaders menaced the very existence of Christian Europe.
Throughout the Middle Ages, there have been uprisings by peasants against their feudal masters.
They took place on a larger scale than before.
The trouble began with the weather.
Flooding farmlands and shortening the growing season were caused by cold and heavy rains early in the century.
More and more land was taken under the plow to feed the population for the three preceding centuries.
There was no more wild territory that could be turned into productive fields, and the available farmland had reached the limit of what it could produce with the methods in use at the time.
An uprising is being crushed.
The capture of a town in France is depicted in this manuscript illustration.
noble ladies, dressed in the height of fashion, look on as mounted knights patrol the streets and foot soldiers hack at rebels and throw them into a river.
The famine resulted in lower human resistance to disease, severe dislocations in agriculture and commerce, and fiercer competition among individuals, classes, and nations.
There was a peasant uprising in northern France in 1320.
Its leaders hoped that the lowly would overthrow the highborn and establish a "Christian commonwealth" of equality for all.
Farmers and poor people from the cities joined excited mobs as they traveled across the countryside.
The rebels destroyed tax records.
The nobility and clergy were alarmed by tales of atrocities.
The anger and resentment of the poor continued.
In 1358 there was another uprising.
The revolt began in a village near Paris.
Tens of thousands of men, women, and children were on the rampage.
The same fate as the earlier rebellions was suffered by the Jacquerie.
The peasants and avenging nobles burned, looted, and killed each other for two months.
France was not the only one in this situation.
Throughout the century, uprisings occurred all over Europe.
The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 in England followed the pattern of the transformation and expansion of europe.
It was destroyed by treachery and murder by the nobles and the king.
The struggles between the English and French monarchs were added to.
The farms and towns of France were ruined by combats that were limited to the noble class.
The political consequences of the Hundred Years' War will be discussed later in the chapter.
The widespread physical damage was the most distressing result.
The plague was part of an outbreak that began in southwestern China in 1340 and spread throughout the Eastern Hemisphere.
Merchants from the city of Genoa brought the Black Sea region to Europe.
The plague, which is spread by fleas from rats to humans, had already devastated Europe in the sixth century.
The plague spread in about four years to all parts of the Continent and to the British Isles after several centuries.
The capacity for resistance was weakened by widespread malnutrition and people were highly susceptible to the infection.
There are dark spots on the skin.
The primary form of the plague can be transmitted by breath to other humans.
The second form of lung disease causes death in a few days and is more lethal than the first.
The Great Plague of London took place in 1665.
It killed 25 million people in Europe in the 14th century and it wasn't until the 16th century that the population reached its earlier level.
The plague had drastic economic, social, and psychological effects.
Everyone became obsessed with death.
Many people thought the plague was a punishment from God and that the world was about to end.
The effects of the plague diminished by the close of the 14th century.
The plague and other catastrophes of Europe strained the medieval patterns of society.
Between serf and lord, journeyman and master, noble and king, layman and priest, priest and pope were the bonds that held people and institutions together.
The bonds were held for a while.
With the gradual recovery of European strength and confidence, the new ways would soon overcome the old.
The late Middle Ages affected eastern Europe more than western Europe.
The east never recovered from the crisis that the west mastered.
They took on the role ofjunior partners to the western European countries and of bulwarks against threats to Europe from farther east.
The religious and cultural differences between western and eastern Europe were caused by the differences between Roman and Byzantine civilization.
The Latin Empire of Constantinople and the restored Byzantine Empire were both too weak to control the Balkans after the capture of Constantinople in 1204.
Serbia and Bulgaria, both important earlier in the Middle Ages, reappeared for a time as powerful independent kingdoms, but eventually they disintegrated as a result of disputes over the succession to their thrones and rivalries among their nobles.
The Slavic Bosnians and the non-Slavic Albanians took their first steps toward nationhood when other rulers held power over them.
Gaining power and influence in the region is what took advantage of the situation.
The spiritual and cultural hold of Byzantium over the Orthodox peoples of eastern Europe was as strong as ever.
They established national "Bulgarian" or "Serbian" Orthodox (as opposed to "Greek Orthodox") churches.
They built splendid cathedrals and monasteries, where glowingly colored frescoes and icons seemed to give believers a glimpse of the other world, and where monks wrote chronicles and lives of saints in the ancient Slavic religious language and the Cyrillic alphabet used by all the national Orthodox churches.
The golden age of Slavic Orthodox culture was during the late Middle Ages.
The Catholic Church was viewed as a traitor by the Orthodox world after the disaster of 1204.
The restored Byzantine rulers sometimes struck deals with the popes in return for military and political support.
The suspicions and hatred of Rome were firmly anchored in the hearts of the Orthodox faithful.
The estrangement between the Catholic and Orthodox churches became bitter.
The social, economic, and political differences between western and eastern Europe were also significant.
western Europe forged ahead of the east with the rise of a dynamic urban trading and industrial economy.
The principle of primogeniture was accepted by the ruling families of western Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but eastern Europe continued to divide their territories among multiple heirs until the end of the Middle Ages.
Europe was divided into a group of stronger and more developed western countries and a group of weaker and less developed eastern countries.
This division has been going on for a long time.
A group of less advanced countries on their eastern borders gave the western countries many advantages in the Middle Ages.
The east provided territories for colonization and emigration in western Europe.
Along with the migration of Germans, there was also a mass movement of Jews.
In the newly colonized territories and throughout much of the rest of northeast Europe, farmers grew grain and timber for export.
Sometimes the western expansion into eastern Europe led to conflict.
The Teutonic Knights, a group of crusading warriors, led the German conquest of the pagan tribes of the Baltic coast for more than two hundred years.
Hungary's main outlet for seaborne commerce is Venice on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea.
The Hussite Wars were a bitter internal and international struggle in which resentment at German immigration, along with religious disputes, led to a bitter internal and international struggle.
These conflicts were exceptional.
The rulers of eastern Europe accepted western immigration and commercial domination if they didn't feel threatened by the loss of local power and independence.
For the sake of increased prosperity and increased tax revenues, the kings of Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia invited Germans and Jews to settle in their countries.
With the kings weakened by the division of their territories and family disputes, it was often the nobles who wielded the greatest share of power.
Less peasants were available to grow profitable crops after the Black Death.
The burdens of serfdom were reimposed by the nobles of eastern Europe from the fifteenth century onward.
Serfdom persisted from the eastern territories of the Holy Roman Empire through Poland, Hungary, and on into Russia.
Social differences were also ethnic in eastern Europe.
It was not unusual for the nobles and rulers to belong to another ethnic group.
The Mongols built a larger empire than any other people before them.
The Great Khan ruled China, Korea, and the Mongol homeland from his capital of Khanbaliq.
Lesser khans ruled territories as far away as Russia.
The empire was stable for most of the 13th century.
Europeans, including Marco Polo, could visit the Far East for the first time in history.
The impact of religious, nationalist, and class ideologies of western European origin combined in the Balkans with the effects of Turkish conquest.
Eastern Europe would be torn apart.
The eastern countries were more exposed to attack from the nomadic peoples of the steppes than the western ones.
Between 1237 and 1240, Genghis's grandson Batu Khan conquered Russia.
Russia's ancient capital city of Kiev and most of the country's southern territories were under the rule of the Tartars, who were known to the Russians as being luxurious.
The rulers of the city and surrounding territory were native Russian vassals of the Tartars.
Moscow extended its power over most of northern Russia despite acknowledging Tartar overlordship.
The new state was in close contact with the Byzantine-influenced Slavs of the Balkans and shared in their flourishing religious and cultural life, but its rulers already controlled far more people and territory than the Bulgaria and Serbian monarchs who so proudly called themselves tsars.
The Russian rulers kept that title.
The Turks were forming an empire that would last much longer than that of the Mongols.
The Turks entered the Middle East and became Muslims in the ninth century.
Most of Asia Minor was conquered by the Seljuk dynasty in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
They came under the rule of the Ottomans in 1299.
The Ottoman Turks expanded their empire by stages rather than at once, and their first target was the chaotic and divided Balkans.
The Turks took over most of the limited territories that the restored empire of Byzantium still possessed after landing in Europe in 1352.
The Albanians conquered the Serbians within fifty years.
Byzantium's final destruction followed.
Constantinople was the last outpost of the thousand-year-old empire.
The city founded by Rome's first Christian emperor became the capital of the Ottoman sultan, and the cathedral of Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque.
Outlying areas of the Balkans, such as Greece and the Romanian territories, still had to be "mopped up," but by 1500, the Turks were ready to turn their attention to new targets: Hungary, the lands surrounding the Black Sea, and a huge swath of Arab countries stretching right Christian Europe confronted an expanding Islamic empire.
The Christian peoples of the Balkans were subjects of the empire.
The Turks brought peace and prosperity to the region, which had not seen anything like it since Roman times.
Town burgeoned as trade flourished.
Constantinople regained its position as Europe's largest city after growing to a size of threequarters of a million.
Turkish rule allowed the sultans to tolerate other monotheistic religions.
The Orthodox majority could practice their religion freely, but were also protected by Turkish power from Catholic efforts to make them accept the supremacy of the pope.
The Orthodox faithful were governed by their own religious leaders under Muslim law.
The power of the Orthodox bishops under the Turks was greater than they had ever enjoyed under the Christian emperors.
The Turkish-ruled Balkans were a haven of tolerance and prosperity for Jews who fled persecution in Spain and Portugal around 1500.
All the same, most non-Muslim ethnic groups in the Balkans had a status of second-class citizens from which there was only one way to escape: conversion to Islam.
The most noble landholders in the Balkans accepted the new religion so as to maintain their privileged status and eventually became Turkish in language and customs.
Christian heretics, who were plentiful in Bosnia, probably also converted in large numbers without losing their ethnic identity.
The wealthy Greek upper class became almost a second ruling group of the Balkans under the Turks.
Greek merchants and bankers were in charge of the region's trade and finance, and provided men and ships for the Turkish merchant and war fleets.
The power of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Balkans was not dependent on whether the local faithful were Greek or not.
The other Orthodox nations of the Balkans had little literate culture and little leadership apart from their parish priests.
The oral culture of epics and folktales kept their national identities alive, telling stories of the tragic events and defeated heroes of the struggle against Turkish conquest.
New religious and national divisions, along with ethnic identities and long memories of defeats to be avenged, grew up throughout the Balkans.
When Turkish rule became weak and oppressive in the 18th and 19th century, this mixture would flare into violent conflicts.
The popes tried to befriend the pagan Mongols in order to turn them against the Muslims.
The Balkans against the Turks was generally too little and late for western help and the Orthodox rulers were often forced to submit to the pope.
Up to the end of the Middle Ages, what prevented the invaders from moving further into Europe was the size of their empires, as both the Turks and the Mongols found their territories difficult to control.
Powerful central and eastern European rulers mounted effective resistance to the Asiatic conquerors in the 16th century.
The western countries were insulated from attacks from the east as they pursued innovations that would create modern Western civilization.
The rise of trade and towns was important in the development of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
European commerce began to change from 1200 onward.
Medieval guilds and merchants were subject to local regulation.
The system fostered the growth of trade and industry while Europe was still relatively backward, but by 1200 its very success was beginning to reveal its limitations.
Most prices were fixed, and the scale of business was small, as the masters of the workshops paid money wages and hoped to make a profit from their enterprises.
As a result, the master's profit was small, and most of it went to the upkeep of his shop and his family.
The true capitalist had not yet appeared.
In the eleventh century, Italian merchants took the lead in the revival of trade, and in the 13th century, they pioneered the development of capitalism.
Many of them made quick fortunes in their dealings, because they dominated the profitable trade of the Mediterranean.
The novel idea made it possible for the successful trader to start new businesses.
The features that have characterized the capitalist system for the past five centuries are its boundless profit seeking and its dynamic spirit.
Merchants of the port cities of Germany achieved in the Baltic Sea what the Italians did in Europe.
The Hanseatic League dominated the foreign trade of northern Germany and set up outlets in the trading centers of Russia, Poland, Norway, and England.
The capitalists of northern Germany received rich profits from these outposts.
The merchants of the Low Countries made a lot of money.
There was a steady stream of Italian ships carrying oriental spices and silks, and vessels from the Baltic carrying furs, timber, and herring.
The English and German industries sent their products to the Low Countries.
By the fifteenth century, a truly international commerce had developed to provide for the growth of a capitalist class.
Many of the traditional methods of doing business were scrapped by the new leaders of enterprise.
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the masters of each guild, collectively, had served as its directing force, and within a framework of rules, individual masters had run their own shops.
The guilds were cast off by several industries after 1200.
Entrepreneurs found that they had to go it alone.
There was a need for a pooling of capital and managerial talent.
The family firm was the most common form of partnership.
A group of relatives could handle matters that required secrecy and mutual trust.
In the woolens industry, the traditional association of master weavers, journeymen, and apprentices had disappeared in most areas by 1400.
The industry was taken over by merchants who bought the raw wool and put it out to semi skilled laborers for processing.
The workers were paid by the piece or by measure, but the ownership of the materials remained with the mer chants.
The finished cloth or garments were sold in the international market at whatever price they could get.
The wool merchants made money from both industry and commerce.
The laborers were paid a low rate and were not allowed to have a say in the conduct of the business.
The laborers were not allowed to organize or strike.
The main mode of production in early modern Europe was the "puttingout" system.
The close relationship between master and journeyman in the medieval guilds was destroyed by it.
It diminished the worker's sense of creativity and made profit the sole concern of the entrepreneur.
The fierce conflicts that were to mark the later industrial world were foretold by the antagonisms that grew up between these entrepreneurs and the workers.
Money came back into general use by 1200, but the further expansion of enterprise depended on new instruments of exchange and credit.
A merchant with branch offices in many countries sells drafts to his clients in another city.
A Venetian who bought linen from Antwerp would find it inconvenient to ship money to the Low Countries every time he placed an order.
He could purchase a draft from a Venetian firm that did business in Antwerp.
The linen seller in Antwerp was willing to accept the bill of exchange because he knew he could collect on it in his own city.
He would probably sign the bill and give it to someone else who owed him money.
The bill would become paper money.
Merchants who had accumulated a profit surplus were the first bankers.
The business of moneylending could bring high returns.
Large-scale moneylending became normal in the 13th century.
The majority of lending at interest was done by Jews.
The role of the Jews contributed to the periodic anti-Semitic outbursts in Europe.
With the expansion of commerce, many people realized that lend ing was a useful activity.
Loans to businessmen who were engaged in profitable enterprises were different from loans to kings and popes.
The popes were among the biggest borrowers of this kind of lending.
Small-scale Jewish moneylending was overtaken by large-scale Christian banking.
Florence became the leading center of international finance in the next century.
Huge loans were advanced to King Edward III of England by the Bardi and Peruzzi families.
Edward forced the families into bankruptcy because he refused to repay the loans.
The Medici, a new house of bankers, emerged in Florence in the 15th century.
The financial power of the city was restored by this family.
Banking moved north from Italy to the rest of Europe.
King Charles VII of France appointed Jacques Coeur as royal treasurer in 1439, after he made a fortune in trading with the Far East.
Coeur became one of Europe's most powerful international bankers because of his position at the court.
He used his wealth to build a palace that was worthy of a king in his hometown of Bourges.
Jacob Fugger was the wealthiest and most famous of the bankers of the period.
In the 15th and 16th century, southern Germany was sharing in the prosperity of growing commerce and had copper and silver mines.
Capital had been put into the mining industry for the first time, allowing miners to dig more deeply and more efficiently.
The leading entrepreneurs of the industry took control of all operations in a few hands.
The workers were no longer independent producers and became voiceless employees.
The Fugger family used their wealth from these and other businesses to fund banking.
Jacob opened branch offices in the major commercial centers of Europe to push the family business beyond Germany.
He provided financial services to merchants, high clergy, and rulers when he ventured into buying, selling, and speculating in all kinds of goods.
He lent half a million gold coins to King Charles I of Spain.
Charles wanted to buy the office of Holy Roman emperor through payments to the imperial electors.
Jacob was a good philanthropist.
A group of attractive dwellings for the "righteous" poor of Augsburg were built by him and his brothers.
Near the center of the city, they are a memorial to the wealth and charity of the Fuggers.
The rise of capitalism undermined the guilds and weakened the manorial system.
The values that the Church had traditionally tried to promote in economic life were undermined.
All relationships between nobles and peasants were affected by the substitution of money for payments in goods or services.
The serfs were required to cultivate the lord's demesne.
The nobles used to rent out their demesnes to free tenants who were able to sell their produce at nearby markets and pay their rents in cash.
The serfs preferred this arrangement because it freed them from extra work, and the lords preferred it because they could usually find cheap day labor and still have cash left over from the serfs' payments.
The next step was the freeing of the serfs.
The serfs were granted freedom because the nobles no longer depended on forced labor.
In most instances, the freedman remained on the land as a tenant and in exchange for his freedom paid his lord a lump sum or extra rent.
He lost his hereditary right to stay on the land, which meant that he could be ousted when his lease expired.
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