Beginning of year - Feb 16th
HIS104Y1 Lecture Notes
September 24, 2010 – February 16, 2011
September 24, 2010
400-700 population of Europe declined dramatically (barbarian invasions, increase in
disease, collapse of the Roman Empire resulted in the decline in roads, food transport,
No desire to experiment with technology or improve yield
Plow was replaced with a new plow with a wheel on it, which allow more land to be
grown to cultivation.
Knights would eat meat because it was a prominent food of the time.
Europeans were a malnourished race, subject to illnesses and physical problems
Medieval farming was a cooperative venture, people lived in villages not in separated
A portion on the manor was designated as the lords dominion, whatever was grown on
this portion would go to the lord, the rest would be split between the peasants that worked
on the manor , which meant the lords wouldn’t have to pay them, and in return the
peasants would get food and security. Peasants had to be bound to the soil as serfs.
This provided the peasants a stable place to work. For it to work everyone had to remain
in place. At least being on the manor there was security, and security of job, and enough
food to feed themselves and the family. If something happened there was no inequality, if
the agriculture was bad, it affected all the serfs, not just one.
The land was split in really narrow strips for the peasants to ensure that one peasant
wouldn’t get all the good land while another peasant would get the bad land.
Shared farming, one peasant themselves could not pay for a plowing team, it was all
cooperative, one peasant may pay for the oxen, one for the plowing, and one may do all
the plowing themselves.
Village was self-sufficient, there were churches, there were priests, blacksmiths that got
paid with food, a communal mill to make bread for the peasants that would have access to
cause they couldn’t have one in their places. Instead of money, food and labour was
Most of Europe was Conservative, change was feared (it was a voyage into the unknown,
which could endanger their family, you understood that this is how the world worked and
just stuck with it)
As much land as possible around the towns were cultivated
New lands had no customary rights that bound peasants to the soil. Work was hard,
people would run away to new manors where they would get better treatment which in
turn would have to make them lose things like security.
New manors would offer things like building and cultivating their own land.
Towns became less self-sufficient and the lord of the manor would get profits by the
peasants cultivating their own land and giving a portion of it to the lord as a “tax”
There was a kind of bidding war between new and old manors, based on the idea that
peasants stay with old customs or go to a new manor where the customs don’t apply.
Money from peasants gave nobility that owned the manors made them more sophisticated
and allowed them to buy horses, jewels, armors, and even pay for architecture, unlike
before where there was no money.
It became needed for the nobility to have to stay on the same social footing as the other
people on the same class by buying jewelry, armors, horses (social status was based on
what you owned – like a competition).
Trading exploded to get things like spices and exotic foods in the Crusades.
Once the things like jewels, armor, animals, etc… became a definition of social status,
everyone wanted to get them or else they’d be declining in status.
Nobles would even go to debt to get the things to get them a higher social status.
Nobles would instead of getting food would start getting cash payments and getting
mortgages and loans on the land to pay for the things.
When they started taking out mortgages they started noticing that incomes remained
stable while prices rose greatly, which created inflation. People started not being able to
pay for things.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
The crusades stimulated long-distance trade.
Support systems stimulated trading states
Service trading brought about trading with other groups
Piracy and trade are essentially the same thing, just gone about with different means
In 1348 there was the outbreak of the black plague. Plagues and disease happened all the
time, but nothing like the black plague, where 50% of the continent died.
For the first time since the collapse of the Roman Empire there was a labour market.
All of Western Europe after the plague was a different place to be. There was a difference
of business organization and structure and sustained higher growth.
The idea of enterprise and business became really powerful creating bigger cities.
Helped create a whole new class of townsman, bourgeoisies, rule them, challenge the old
lords, and still make money. – fundamental, revolutionary movement that permitted
people to do things differently.
Initially merchants had to spends a lot of time away, sailing to other continents and
The style of early capitalism was risky by bringing money with them and goods back. It
was limited to how much a family could amass to trust to bring back the goods that are
What is needed then was an enforceable contract.
Several men would poo their money to say buy spices from the east. One without the
capital would agree to sail to the place to do it. One person would insure the venture.
Then a contract would be made that would ensure a fair split of whatever was gained.
This gave them the ledger to make them rulers of the town or city, because they were the
people who made the decisions.
It gave the opportunity to the poorer merchants to get a bigger return and a venture to see
how other societies work, an “education” per say.
Urban merchants were not fitted intot he third estates, nor were they fitted into the second
The success in business led to new expansion to urban growth because more capital
activity was in the city.
Since more capital was being made, there was need for more outlets.
Bankers use the surplus money to make loans and make money off of them off of the
Anyone with any extra money would often loan their money instead of saving it to get an
interest from it and make more capital.