Europe in the 14th Century and the Renaissance
The 14th century was anything but pleasant for the people living in Europe at the time. There were so many factors and conditions that ultimately helped pave the way for the Renaissance. I will focus on the key influences during this period that contributed to the development of this “rebirth”. The most significant impact that you must address right off the bat is, the Black Death. With the plague wiping out nearly one-third of Europe’s population, this catastrophe led to many economic, political, social, ideological, and cultural changes.
Before getting into details of conflicts of the middle ages, I think it is important to know that in the beginning of the 14th century the medieval warm period had ended which resulted in a “little ice age”. The climate had gotten colder and the farmland was becoming less fertile because of soil unrest from generations using the same land. The Malthusian Crisis was a prediction that ultimately became true--the population of Europe had gotten too large and there wasn’t enough available resources. Hunger and famine caused a big spike in the death rate and as things were starting looking pretty grim, then comes the plague..
The Black Death is believed to have arrived in Europe by sea in October 1347 when Genoese trading ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina after a long journey at sea (the pathogen Yersinia Pestis supposedly carried in certain infected rodents had transmitted the disease). People ready to greet the ships were shocked to see a bunch of dead and diseased sailors. It didn’t look good whatsoever. The victims showed strange black, oozing swellings about the size of an egg or an apple in the armpits and groin. Before anyone could try and quarantine the sick, it was too late. Merchants and marmots would help spread this deadly disease, making no one have any idea knew where it was coming from or why it was happening. It is believed that since the plague spread...
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