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Upheavals and Restoration of 14th Century Europe

  • Date Submitted: 12/18/2011 03:30 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 48.2 
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The 14th and 15th centuries were difficult ones in European history. The crises represented in the bubonic plague, famine, social upheaval, and rampant warfare, altered the structure of European society. The signal event of the era was the plague, which started in southwest China. It moved along the silk route and was pushed to the Black Sea by Mongol horsemen. Genoese traders encountered the disease and transported it to Western then the rest of Europe. About 1/3rd to ½ of Europe died of the plague.
At those times, Europe was already suffering the effects of a series of bad harvests started during the last decades of the 13th century where agricultural production had declined significantly. Also, when European climate changed on the eve of the 14th century, winters and summers became colder and wetter. A series of crop failures occurred at the beginning of the century, followed by a widespread famine from 1315 through 1317. The dramatic loss of population affected the European economy very badly.
The European economy was also affected by two other important factors: a shortage of bullion and the disruption of trade routes to Asia resulting from the advance of the Ottoman Turks and their control over the routes. By the last decades of the 14th century, the rich silver mines of central Europe had become exhausted. Also, the Ottomans supplanted the Mongols and expanded steadily and during 1453 they took the great port city of Constantinople.
Demographic crisis and economic change occurred against a backdrop of warfare.
The most famous war of the era was the Hundred Years' War between England and France. It lasted from 1337 until 1453. English armies rode through the French countryside burning houses and fields, inflicting heavy economic damage. The English scored impressive battlefield victories at Crécy (1346), and other battles. The victories resulted from superior English tactics, which included taking the defensive posture, descending from horses to fight on...

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