The Middle Ages

Topics: Black Death, Medieval demography, Middle Ages Pages: 3 (1017 words) Published: June 30, 2013
History Essay- The Middle Ages.

‘The Flea that destroyed feudalism’
Why has the Black Death been referred to as this?

The Black Death was a deadly disease that entered Europe in the year 1347. It came from Central Asia, carried along trade routes by the fleas on rats. The Black Death was responsible for the deaths of a third to a half of the population of Europe in the 14th century. This major decrease in population led to a number of other important changes in Europe in the 14th century, especially in England where the system of Feudalism was used to control the citizens. These changes included: peasants were more valuable and had more rights, landowners were less powerful, the Church had less power and influence, and wealth increased, which led to trade flourishing, more opportunities for women, education rates increasing, and improvements in health and hygiene. All of these factors were very important and majorly affected the system of Feudalism in England.

Peasants became much more valuable after the Black Death. This was because there was a shortage of workers (villeins/peasants), as a third to a half of the population had died from the Black Death. This meant that landowners had to treat their workers better in order to make them stay, as workers were now harder to find. This meant that the workers (villeins/peasants) could choose their job and have more demands, such as higher wages. Peasant’s rights also increased, mostly after the Peasant’s Revolt, as the government had made laws to keep wages low and to stop workers from leaving their villages, and landowners increased labour dues, because of the shortage of workers, while the peasants wanted to be free and earn higher wages.

Landowners had less power after the Black Death. This was because peasants had more rights and had to be treated better, as there was a shortage of workers after the Black Death, and so they (peasants/villeins) were more valuable. Before the Black Death, landowners...
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