Economic Consequences Of The Black Death

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2. Outline the main short-term and longer-term economic consequences of the Black Death. Which was the most significant?

The devastating consequences of the Black Death, which was at its peak between 1346 and 1353, did not cease after the period had ended. The Black Death caused the death of about a third of Europe’s population, with some places, such as Florence losing as much as two thirds of its population. With a smaller population, Europe saw a short-term rise in jobs available for peasants and, with labourers needing to compete to keep the few workers they had, a subsequent rise in their wages. Further, for many peasants and others who did not own land, living conditions improved, as with more housing available, and with more
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However, each of the short-term and long-term consequences did not occur in isolation. Rather, they occurred one after the other, with each new consequence having been affected by the one before it. It is in this sense, then, that each of the consequences of the Black Death were equally significant in fuelling the change in economy throughout Europe.

4. What is the “principle of attachment”? Give two examples of how it functioned in the exploration of the New World.

The principle of attachment, as first noted by the historian Anthony Pagden, is able to be identified in many primary sources from the period of exploration. The principle of attachment occurs when a known, understood and believed action is combined with an unknown action that is foreign to the person employing it. This is often done in order to reconcile new actions, or places, with the person’s own beliefs. In the exploration of the New World, the principle of attachment occurred largely due to the concept of ‘otherness’. This is because, the European view of native peoples as uncivilised, bestial, and savage made the use of native techniques unlikely, even when the native methods appeared effective. Instead, the steps in Pagden’s principle of attachment were employed so that explorers could thrive in a new land, while continuing to embody European ideals.
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