Most of Europe suffered from the Black Death which had enveloped the continent during the thirteenth century. Populations of many countries were decimated. Some countries lost as much as 70% of their populations. In Florence, one-half to two-thirds of the population died as a result of the Black Death. When those rough times finally eroded Europe, many countries, like Italy, were left to rebuild entirely. Florence itself was at its lowest population in almost 200 years (Goldthwaite, The Building... 1 - 44). However, rather than proving to be a disadvantage, a lower population actually benefited those who survived. Since the population had shrunk so much, the per capita wealth of the survivors was much higher than ever before in Florence. A good-size proportion of the wealth had accumulated in the hands of a surprisingly large number of people t...
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