The Black Death During the fourteenth century there were some major disasters that plagued Europe and would result in everlasting changes. War caused by peasant revolts, French and English battle for throne, religious conflicts, famine caused from flooding by heavy rains and devastating arctic weather, were some of the massive dilemmas that Europe faced. “But the cruelest blow of all was the Black Death. This was the name given In Europe to a pandemic (universal) outbreak of a deadly disease, the bubonic plague. ” (Lewis, 247).
This disease was nothing new for Europe, during the sixth century Europe, the plague had already caused massive damage. But this time around it effected more people’s lives than ever before. (Lewis, 246-247). Human resistance to disease was lowered from the famine and malnutrition. The spike in Rupee’s population during the agricultural boom finally came to an end. “By about 1347, the plague reached the Black Sea region; from there, merchants from the city of Genoa brought it to Italy; and In about four years, It spread across Europe. (Lewis, 247). All people from the bottom of the social latter such as the peasants’ right up to he top with the nobility such as lords and princes, had to deal with the drastic changes. No man, woman, nor child were safe from this tragic outbreak. The social effects that the Black Death that changed the most were that of the serfs and peasants who worked the fields to keep the agriculture flowing–significantly decreased. The members of the Church thinned along with the royal members of European kingdoms had also reduced their numbers.
The clergy now needed to find new members but because of the decrease In population this left an opening to get more corrupt Individuals Involved. Many people Interpreted the plague as a punishment from God that called for severe personal penitence; some thought the end of the world was at hand. (Lewis, 247). The psychological effects alone were enough to change Europe forever. The change in the economy eventually led to a new form of an economic system, capitalism.
The need to make more money off the goods that needed to be sold or traded, caused more lengthy travel. These travels led to the contact with many new people more specifically, International merchants. “Independent craftspeople, in trouble because of trade stoppages, might become employees of wealthy merchants who were better able to survive until times improved; kings fighting expensive wars, and popes moving money to Rome, both needed services of bankers. ” (Lewis, 253).
The rise of bankers and a new method of transferring currency by the usage of paper money also started in the aftermath of the depopulation of Europe. The success of these International bankers, contributed to them augmenting both political and social Influence. Technology progressed due to the rise of capitalism, and because of the contact between Arabs, Chinese, and the Europeans, all new innovations were forming a new lifestyle for any people. “Sea transport, warfare, book production, the measurement of time–all were revolutionized by the Europe of the late Middle Ages. Lewis, 256). The invention of gunpowder by the Chinese and the improvement with it by the Europeans would and technical change enabled rulers to gain more control of their governments and armed forces than before. ” (Lewis, 258). The central government treasury no longer paid the officials, causing more taxes to be collected from the public. This did open the gates for more corruption and fraud in the European societies. With all of the inheritance from the dead that the living received, most likely fueled some of the changes.
The peasants also wanted higher wages for the work they had to do, which can cause all new problems. This plague also left many towns and villages abandoned and never to be rebuilt again. In a sense the Black Plague contributed to the end of feudal rule and now rulers had a little more direct control over their lands. With all things considered, the Black Plague was not the only reason for all the changes that occurred in Europe, but it was one of the larger contributors. The league killed perhaps a quarter of all the inhabitants of Europe during the fourteenth century (25 million out of a population of 100 million). (Lewis, 247). The political, religious, economic, and social changes of European society after the Black Plague have had everlasting effects, with the reformation of Europe, in which some of the changes are still seen in present day. The humanism movement and Renaissance era in Europe were also about to surface. It’s very interesting to think about, that everybody alive today have had the lucky ancestors that survived the horrors of the fourteenth century.
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