The Commercial Revolution

786 Words4 Pages
Fire versus electricity, donkey carts versus cars, knights in shining armor versus G.I Joe’s. Middle Ages versus 2014. Compared to today’s standards the middle ages was a time of primitive hardship with back-breaking labor using crude equipment. However, when looked at in its historical context, the Middle Ages was actually an era of great technological advancement and industrial expansion that is now known as the Commercial Revolution. In their book Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel: Technology and invention in the Middle Ages, Frances and Joseph Gies inform readers of the great improvements brought about by the commercial revolution, the roles geography, and agriculture played in its establishment, and how these improvements set the stage…show more content…
One of the main contributors to the commercial revolution was agriculture. The increase of agricultural harvests resulted in a surplus of food, which lead to a population growth that from 700 A.D to 1200 A.D doubled from approximately 27 million to 60 or 70 million. This population explosion allowed for a greater division of labor as well as the addition and expansion of towns and cities. With more people able to fulfill non-food producing occupations the industrial progress of the middle ages skyrocketed. One of the most prosperous farming systems of the commercial revolution was the open field method where one field was left fallow for the year while the rest of the land was plowed and planted. The clearing of new farmland, the invention of the heavy plow and horse harness, and the use of the ridge-and-furrow pattern all greatly advanced the escalation of agricultural…show more content…
By the tenth century the business men and craftsmen of industrial towns were banding together in “communes” and declaring themselves to be free men who owed nothing to anyone besides taxes to the king. This declaration of freedom even extended to the serfs as long as they sustained themselves in a city for a day and one year. European regions that developed commercially were the areas that began to loosen the constraint of the old ways from among the people and in the words of Carl Stephenson caused “the emancipation of the rural masses that made possible our modern nation.” The industrial advancement of areas with towns ushered in the progressive thinking of a new

More about The Commercial Revolution

Open Document