The growth experienced in
Europe between the 11th and the 13th centuries resulted in a profound
crisis during the 14th century. There were three calamities suffered by
the population: hunger, war and plagues.
The crisis in agriculture and its consequences
1270 it became obvious that the increase in agricultural production had come
to a halt and could not supply enough food for the growing population.
There were three causes for this situation.
lands had run out of fertile soil after prolonged use.
crops for food supplies were replaced by dye and textile plants to
cover the great industrial demand.
Soil was no longer rotated.
direct consequence of the lower cereal production, prices went up, thus
affecting the lower classes.
the first half of the 14th century, there were heavy rains and
floods causing the loss of crops, sometimes for various years
running, The results were drastic and many died frorn hunger or lack of
l4th century many political conflicts took place. The worst conflict
was the Hundred Years War between the French and English monarchies,
which started in 1328. It destroyed crops and led to an increase in taxes to
pay for military expenses. Other areas such as the Iberian Peninsula
also suffered from the effects of wars. (Christian versus Muslim kingdoms)
were also many social conflicts. The consequences of the economic
crisis, destruction from war and the high taxes caused many peasant protests.
The growing social inequalities led to urban conflicts.
The Black Death
1348 a terrible plague, the Black Death devastated Europe. It was
brought from Asia on a Genoese ship. Hunger and poor hygiene conditions
stimulated its spreading.
The spreading of the Black Death over Europe
two years the Black Death expanded and devastated the entire continent.
The cities suffered the worst consequences as the population was more
Black Death killed a quarter of the population in Europe. During the
second half of the 14th century there were many outbreaks, although none of
thern were as severe as the one in 1348.