AN03e2_Ch14: Formation of Western Europe- Rise of Commercial Centers
Timeline: ~11th – 14th C.
FQ: What were the signs that commercial activity was increasing in High Middle Ages Europe?
Main Idea: Agricultural surplus provided valuable commodities for sale. The increased commercial activity disrupted the rigid social structure of the feudal era.
I. Vocabulary (refer to the Word Puzzle)
II. Satisfying ‘Needs’ and ‘Wants’
A. New Economy Develops (The ‘Needs’ and ‘Wants’ of the population determine what is produced, bought, and sold).
1. ‘Markets’ are places where ‘Buying’ & ‘Selling’ occurs.
a. Often situated In Urban settings. Local fairs and ‘Great’ fairs are examples of medieval markets. Markets may be setup near Cathedrals and similar sites. Anyone wishing to become commercially active headed toward these towns.
b. Trading centers well situated for commercial activity included Florence, Venice, Genoa, Milan, Cairo.
a. Increasing wealth fuels consumption of basic and luxurious products. Commercial ‘demand’ rises.
b. Artisans & Craftsmen produce goods that consumers demand. Trade skills would be acquired through a program that focuses on hands-on experience. It all begins with an apprenticeship. The successful apprentice would rise to ‘Journeyman’ and then reach the top of his craft when he attains the title of ‘Master’.
a. Merchants bring to local areas a variety of goods that are not locally produced.
b. Trade organizations are established to ensure quality & price standards. These organizations can be local (Guilds) or between distant towns (Hanseatic League). Additionally, the Hanseatic League, which was an alliance of trading guilds stretching across/ between towns, enjoyed a trade monopoly over the Baltic Sea, portions of the North Sea, and most of Northern Europe for a time.
B. Trade Supplants Self-sufficiency.
1. As contact with distant cultures and their goods increase, the demand for those goods increase.
2. Events like the Crusades reintroduces the East (11th-12th C.)
3. Pax Mongolica (Mongol Peace) safeguards trade routes and makes commercial activity between Europe and Asia profitable.
C. Carrying Trade (Case Study: Venice)
Very few towns were as well situated as Venice to fill the niche of “Carrier”. The Venetians used their vessels to carry the cargo that others wanted to acquire or transport to distant ports. A few important considerations are:
1. Demand for goods that are not locally produced increases.
2. Demand for raw materials increase as manufacturing increases.
3. Quest for trade routes increases.
a. Control & monopolize established routes for exclusive use by certain merchants.
b. Search for alternative or new routes if established routes are not available.
c. The transportation of people & goods becomes a growing business
III. Summary Activity: Why it’s important now.
The changes developing during the Middle Ages laid the foundations for modern Europe.
– World History: Patterns of Interaction
– Flinders University (http://www.es.flinders.edu.au/%7Emattom/science+society/lectures/illustrations/lecture13/threefield.html)
– The Human Record, vol. 1 Fourth Ed.
– Millennium Video Series.
– Crusade Skit (Time permitting)