1.

Trace the Growth of the European industry, technology, and trade in the Middle Ages through the development of the textile industry. During the Medieval times in Western Europe, much of the population consisted of peasants and serfs. This created problems because the culture, technology, and society were at a dead standstill. Their was no need for new advances because of the way of life many were experiencing. However, when the plague hit, everything changed. After wiping out 2/3 of Europe’s population, the plague left, leaving the opportunity for change. It helped to spark an industrial revolution in Europe and it helped jump start new culture in Europe. New technologies like the wind and water mill also helped to further the mining and the textile industries. During the 1200s, most of the European population consisted of poor peasants, living on wealthy lords manors. The contrast in wealth between the serfs and the nobles was dramatic; the a serf and his family lived in a small one room hut, while the nobles lived in huge manor houses, surrounded by anywhere from 15 to 30 serf families to meet their needs. The lord would tax them heavily, taking half of the crops each family grew. Serfs also sometimes lived and worked on Church land, however they were no better off than any of the other serfs. Then the Black Plague hit. It wiped out over 2/3 of Europe’s population in a course of over two years. After the brunt of the plague had disappeared, the demand for skilled labor was high; however the supply was low due to the disease. The remaining laborers demanded better wages as a result. When the government tried to stop this, mass revolts broke out and the peasants killed many of the surviving upper class. Eventually the nobles complied and this lead to an overall rise in the quality of life for peasants. Serfdom became very scarce in Western Europe and as a result, the gap between rural and urban decreased in size. During the period of 1100-1500, England had its own small industrial revolution. People began to create and embrace new technologies such as the water wheel. Most lords began creating them on their land by the river and using it to grind grain and flour, crush olives, saw wood, make paper and other monumental but useful tasks. The lords could then charge the people on his land for using the mill too, making the expensive wheel worth it. People also used windmills in areas where the water would freeze, making a water wheel impractical. England also started to use the power of water to further advance their iron making capabilities. Now that blacksmiths could mold iron and create high-quality iron, the demand for iron spiked dramatically. Therefore new mines opened up and the mining industry increased. After the 1200s, there was a dramatic growth in cites due to the increase in trade and manufacturing. People began to re-establish long-distance trading routes and the Mongol’s control over Asia helped to facilitate that process. There was an especially high demand for Chinese luxury items. This high demand for Chinese goods helped to increase Europe’s trade output, as it needed materials to trade with. After the fall of the Mongol’s, trading with China became harder, sparking exploration expeditions. Areas in Italy like Venice profited greatly from all of this long-distance trade, as they had direct access to the Mediterranean maritime trading system. The Europeans also furthered their textile industries, using wind and water mills to produce large quantities of wool for clothes. This led to even more specialization of labor as local businesses stated to focus on how to meet the growing consumer demand.

3. Discuss the relationship between the monarchs, nobles, and the Church during the reigns of the new monarchs. Was this relationship different from that of feudal times? Why or why not? During the 1200s-1500s, when the Monarchs were first gaining power, many groups fought back. The Church tried to limit the king’s power as much as possible, and it also controlled the minds of the population, being the major religion of the state. The nobles/knights also did not want the king to have power, and fought against the rising taxes by revolting. It was not at all like the feudal times, because the vassals would receive land if they remained loyal to the king and supported him in battle. However, the knights of the late Medieval and Renaissance period fought against the king! Eventually, the monarchy would claim the top power and the church and the nobles weakened, but not before centuries of feuding. The Renaissance social classes and structure were still very much like the medieval times. Monarchs who inherited power from the family (hereditary) were at the top of the social and political hierarchy. Next came the powerful nobles and vassals. However unlike in medieval times when the vassals were required to give military service to their lord, the renaissance vassals tried every way to take away power from the Monarch and give it to themselves. The church and nobles undermined the monarchy of the royal family in everyway they could in order to gain power, and the royal family fought back just as hard. When Pope Boniface VIII tried to resist their power though, the reigning monarch, King Philip went as far as to arrest the pope! The monarchy was also limited in power by the wealthy vassals who held enough money to stop the kings from having complete control. Also when the king tried to raise taxes, it led to a revolt of the nobles, which the king did not have the money or the army to control. The nobles forced the king to sign the Magna Carta, further limiting his power. In order to try to gain more control over the nobles, kings would marry off sons and daughters to powerful vassals, in an attempt to control that family. However it was not always successful because the marriages didn’t always work out However eventually the Church and the noble knights began to lose power. The Great Schism between the Roman and Latin Church happened during this time period, weakening the Churches power. The split was mostly over iconic imagery, but the internal feuding brought down much of the power the Church had in politics. Also, the noble knights were still the predominant force of Europe’s army, but the advent of two new weapons helped to weaken their social standing in society. The firearm and the piercing crossbow were two powerful new weapons that upset the noble knights high standing, and lowered their status. This also meant that Europe’s knights lost some of their wealth. They would eventually become obsolete after the Hundred Years War with France.

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