The Late Middle Ages Study Guide
People in the 14th century were subjected to natural and man-made disasters, including: Climate Change
The Hundred Years' War
The Babylonian Captivity
The Great Schism
Starting about 1250, a Little Ice Age began weakening Europe's agricultural productivity. The Baltic Sea froze, Alpine glaciers advanced, and in some areas, grain cultivation ceased. In other areas, crops failed as a result of heavy rains. Economic Decline
The 14th century saw a series of catastrophes that caused the European economy to weaken. A declining population, shrinking markets, a decrease in arable land, and a general mood of pessimism were evidence of deteriorating economic conditions. 3-
The importance of hygiene was recognized only in the nineteenth century; until then it was common that the streets were filthy, with live animals of all sorts around and human parasites abounding. A transmissible disease will spread easily in such conditions. 4-
The feudal relationship between the English and French kings. Kings of England were Duke of Aquitaine in their own right, and owned other lands in France as well. Growing English commercial domination of the rich French controlled province of Flanders. France had a long standing alliance with Scotland 5-
In past centuries, death was embraced as a sister and friend, a welcome bridge to eternal rest. A priest would administer the Sacrament of Extreme unction to help prepare the traveler for his journey. Those left behind held ornate funeral procession and saw their loved ones buried in consecrated ground.
The forces of nature also cast a shadow across the century. In a time that never produced large agricultural surpluses, poor harvests led to famine in the second and third decades of the century, and an accompanying deflation drove people off the land. In 1347 the Black Death...
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