The story

Economic transformations in medieval Europe


With the strengthening of cities and commerce, a new ideal of life emerged in Europe. Until then, in general, people could only crave personal accomplishments, in recognition of being a brave warrior.

For the bourgeois, however, the most important thing was to accumulate fortune. As a result, he worked hard, trying to increase business and profits more and more.

The rise in business practice has resurrected the importance of money. The trade, based on the simple exchange of products, began to be based on the exchange of products for currency. The merchant himself, needing money to travel and buy goods, began to borrow it, propitiating the development of bank houses.

As a result of trade, some regions have specialized in the production and marketing of certain products. Burgundy and Rhine Valley, in present-day France, for example, specialize in wine; Provence, in salt, and so on. There was also an increase in the number of people working by salary.

All these changes have altered the political and social organization of Europe.

The peasant revolts

With commerce, the feudal nobility began to use new products, especially those of oriental origin. To secure the resources needed to sustain these new habits, exploitation of servants has increased. In response arose riots and escapes from peasants to the cities.

In addition, the increase in population led to an expansion of agricultural zones, with the occupation of forest areas and pastures. The occupation of pastures, in turn, caused the lack of animal manure. As a result, crops have become insufficient, causing hunger and malnutrition and making Europeans more vulnerable to disease.

City life

The growth of the medieval cities was limited by the walls of the burgos. No one wanted to live outside of them, fearing for their safety.

Today in some regions of Europe it is possible to find the ancient medieval cities. Preserved, they offer an idea of ​​what it was like to live and work at that time. In the picture, city of Avila, in present Spain. Its walls were built in the eleventh century.

As it was not possible to destroy the walls, and the population increased, the houses grew up to three floors. Most of the houses were made of wood, which favored the fires that sometimes completely destroyed a city.

There were no sidewalks or sewers, which facilitated the spread of disease. At night there was almost no lighting. By day, the villages also remained quite dark.

People roamed the city among the animals, eating food scraps thrown out of the windows.

Craftsmen and merchants clustered in the streets according to their activities. Fun symbols, such as a fishing cat, indicated the stores to those who could not read.

The universities

From the twelfth century, with the expansion of commercial activities and the growth of cities, traders felt the need to read, write and count. To meet this need, they began to organize schools.

The universities, from the twelfth century, multiplied across Europe. The main ones of the time appeared in: Bologna (1158), Paris (1200), Cambridge (1209), Padua (1222), Naples (1224), Toulouse (1229).

At universities, professors and students devoted themselves to various fields of knowledge, such as the arts, grammar, mathematics, rhetoric, law, medicine, theology. The teaching was given in Latin.