13th Century Research Paper

Decent Essays

A virulent plague consumed millions of corpses; war raged on for multiple generations, and famine struck an overpopulated Europe. Even as many tragedies befell the European people, the crisis of fourteenth century eventually proved itself to be a blessing in disguise, albeit a very lethal one. The first hardship, the Little Ice Age, afflicted northern Europe in 1315 and reached the south by 1347, creating a dearth of food. The Black Death then wiped out a third of European inhabitants in the middle of the century. Many wars erupted, but the Hundred Years War between England and France resulted in the most deaths and caused heavy taxation for these countries from 1337 to 1452. The Ottoman Turks began to attack European settlements in the east, …show more content…

Farmers could reintroduce the inventions of the thirteenth century into society, using them cultivate their newly inherited lands. Larger plows and improved horseshoes allowed for greater harvests and the ability to feed the larger populations. Europeans improved upon the designs of both the water mill and the windmill, utilizing the power for the processing of grain, cloth, paper, and metals. Wages increased and farmers had more bountiful harvests on the abundant land. The idea of capitalism replaced feudalism in many towns, and farmers that produced more crops received more money. Non-agriculture Europeans congregated in the cities, and the urban population increased resulting in the rebound of trade and production. Western Europe contained 56 universities by the early fifteenth century, and the printing press increased book production along with literacy rates. Many texts on natural philosophy encouraged scholars to assume an open mind on learning from other civilizations. Travel manuscripts and maps spread across Europe, encouraging mariners to explore and discover new lands. Western Europeans, with a desire for new territories and contempt towards Arabs and Turks, expanded past their continental boundaries to …show more content…

The Genoese and Venetians held the role of middlemen in Mediterranean trade, abhorred by the Kingdoms of Iberia for their incredible markups. Genoa received Asian goods through Constantinople, and the Venetians received the treasures of the Indian Ocean through Egypt. Constantly competing with one another, the two city-states would increases prices on goods, impacting Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, and British trade, five nations that played dominant roles in New World colonization. The Iberian seafaring nations hoped to sail directly to the Indian Ocean and avoid this middleman. The Portuguese in particular were determined to find the “River of Gold,” a river in the Ghana Empire where the gold trade thrived. As written by the Portuguese explorer Duarte Pacheco Pereira, “so much gold and other rich merchandise would be found as would maintain the King and people of these realms of Portugal in plenty.” As the Portuguese made financial gains in Africa, the Castilians hoped to reach the Spice Islands by funding Christopher Columbus’ journey. After the discovery of the new world, other Europeans nations began to colonize the Americas in search of any goods that would result in profit. International trade was the key to wealth, and the competition to monopolize merchandise fostered an environment in which

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