From 500 -1550. Western Europe would undergo many political changes as kings and nobles fought for political control over various kingdoms following the fall of the German Empire. Despite these turbulent changes Christianity would remain constant unifying force and provide hope. Economically trade faltered because of the lack of a currency and the deterioration of Roman Roads and infrastructure. Ultimately, Europe would remain stagnant. By 600 C.E. trade had diminished in Western Europe as a result of the breakdown of roads and other structures. Thefall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century led to the neglect of trade routes and transportation. As a result the moneydried up and the infrastructure needed to support trade withered. As a result there were no main trade centers as in the past, instead there were small-scale markets. Even currency fell into disuse, and people reverted back to a barter system. Exotic luxury items were virtually gone from Western Europe entirely. By 1100, trade slowly began to come back because of the Crusades. During this time, Europeans experienced the Muslim Culture and were influenced by their way of life. Items like Silk, Cotton, Medicines, Citrus, Cinnamon and other spices made their way back to European markets and revitalized trade with the east. As a result, the European economy would rebound and by 1450, it would thrive. By the 15th century, Italian merchants in particular were growing wealthy off of Eastern trade and European began to look for new ways to reach both India and China. As a result and era of exploration and discovery was about to take place and westward voyages would forever change Europe economically.
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