Chapter 12: Crisis of the Later Middle Ages
What were the causes of the population decline that began in the early 14th century?
The significant population decline that began in the early 14th-century was caused primarily by “Great Famine,” and The Black Death. Beginning in 1315, the Great Famine brought seven years of starvation and vulnerability for Northern Europe. The winter of 1315 was said to be a “little ice age,” which evidently lead to crops dying off. Crops and grain were the main food source, therefore, Europeans struggled to find substitutions for food which physically effected them especially in the cold winter months. The Black Death launched at an ailing time for Europe because of the Great Famine which made the plague even more disastrous. Rats and fleas started the plague by traveling from region to region spreading its deadly disease by cause of ships. The disease was momentous because the pathogen was passed through coughing and sneezing.
What was the source of the bubonic plague and why did it spread so rapidly in Europe?
The source of the bubonic plague was primarily rats and eventually fleas. Venetian and Genoese merchant ships believed that sailing in search of food was beneficial to Europe’s starving times, however it backfired. Rats traveled in cargo on ships that eventually reached a large spectrum of Europe. Fleas would inject the bacterial disease into rats. As the rats died off their next host was humans. The Bubonic plague, also known as Black Death, spread so rapidly throughout Europe mainly because the pathogen was passed through the simple action of coughing, sneezing, talking etc.
What impact did the plague have on wages and the demand for labor? What happened to land values?
The plague effected Europe’s economy massively, starting with the fall of productivity and the amount of jobs lost. The remaining workers demanded higher wages however they were quickly denied by the English Parliament. In the late 14th-century wages started to rise throughout towns and cities leading to wealthier lifestyles throughout Europe. As workers became more expensive, employers could not afford to hire them, replacing them with the cheap alternative of slaves. As business man realized the high demand for slaves, they heightened the price. The price of land decreased as the amount of land increased because of the numerous deaths during the plague.
Describe the psychological effects of the plague. How did people explain this disaster?
The Black Death became stronger and towns became weaker with fear that their destiny was death. The public was confused as to were the disease came from and how to cure it leading them to focus on asceticism and serious religious practices. For example groups of flagellants believed the plague was a punishment from God and in their search for forgiveness they walked through public streets whipping themselves with disdain. As deaths increased families and the...