The Feudal System in Medieval Europe (7th‐14th Century A.D.) 1
by kiplangat cheruiyot
At the beginning of medieval age in Europe, based on a feeble resource of data, it is believed that between 80‐90% of the economic activity was agriculture. Nearly everybody therefore, earned a living through agriculture as an economic activity. The economic structure prevailing then became known as Feudalism, a term which has come to mean, an economic system based on Lordship (ownership) of vast Land (also known as the ‘manor’ or ‘estate’), owned by a senior lord, who gave the right of cultivation (fief) to a lower rank of people called the vassals, who in return paid a stipulated amount from the harvests or from services rendered or ‐ later on ‐ through money, to the Lord of the manor. The vassals also received security from the lord of the manor. The origin of feudalism is sometimes traced back to the expansion of the Roman Empire. In Italy for instance, there were present large portions of land owned by Roman soldiers who had received the allocation of land in return for military services rendered to the Caesar. There also existed ownership of large track of land in Gaul before the Roman 1
This document is a summary of the European feudal system in the medieval
ages from an excerpt by: SB Clough y RT Rapp, Historia Economica de Europa. El desarrollo Económico de la Civilización Occidental, Barcelona, Omega, 1986, Cap.3.
invasion. Few people escaped this form of economic structure for reasons of living in the mountains or where the land was densely cultivated. There is evidence that this form of Roman ownership of land prevailed through the invasion of the German tribes until the ...