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September 25-27 -- Agricultural Foundations of Society.docx

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Department
History
Course
HIS220Y1
Professor
Isabelle Cochelin
Semester
Fall

Description
HIS220 Agricultural Foundations of Society Tuesday September 25 2012 th - In the Middle Ages, agriculture and peasantry were fundamental aspects of society and life - 90-95% of the population were involved in the production of food - The wealth in the Middle Ages was measured by land, and most of the wealth came from the land - 90% of the exportation of goods from England were products of the land - While the peasants made up such a large part of the population, we have very little sources/evidence of their everyday life Agricultural adaptation to colder climates History and Agriculture: longue duree and changes - Longue duree, agriculture didn’t really change much after the changes that occur in the 11 and th th nd 12 centuries until the 2 world war? - Agriculture practiced in the longue duree was repetitive, the same thing was done at the same time day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year - From the late 10 century to the late 13 century the weather was generally stable and a bit th warm, but beginning in the 14 century the weather began to fluctuate and became colder - Grain made up more than half of their diets, so any slight change in the growing of grain had a major impact on their diets and ability to feed themselves Mediterranean Agriculture and two-field system - 5000 BCE agriculture was developed, and the way it was done didn’t really change much - Grains would be planted in October, but first the earth would be prepared with the Light Plow to crush the surface of the earth - After the land was cultivated with those winter grains, the land was left to fallow for 16 months so that it would refertilize itself naturally (two-field system) Three-field system and the heavy-plow - One field was used, one was left to fallow - Heavy plow was then introduced, needed a team of oxen to pull it (so you either needed a local lord to pay for it or a team of peasants to pool together to buy it) - This allowed people to cultivate previously uncultivable land in the north - It allowed them to clear a lot more land as well - There is thus a lot of land being put to use throughout Europe th - For instance, in the late 11 century in England there was approximately 5-6 million acres of land used for agriculture, but by the late 13 century there was now 10 million acres used for agriculture - Three-field system introduced in the 12 -13 centuries: spring planting, fall planting, fallow land - The three-field system allowed people to stock more fo
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