How Did Trade Affect Feudal Society

471 Words2 Pages
While peasants worked the fields and the lords and ladies of the castle feasted, medieval merchants were sailing the seas around Europe and the Mediterranean. They traded in food, raw materials, and luxuries: wool from England, furs from Russia, wood from Scandinavia, salt and wine from France, horses from Spain, cloth and tapestries from Flanders, glass from Italy, and silks and spices from Asia. Trade made the merchants rich, and it also brought wealth to the rulers of the land in which the trading took place. Many of the rulers would demand a fee or a gift to them for allowing the foreigners to trade in their land, and they also taxed all traded goods. Numerous wars were fought over trade, because of the great profit it brought to the land. The Crusades were not just holy wars, but they also aimed to take one of the largest trading centers and routes in the world. Trading and the City: Merchant and traders were not part of the medieval feudal society, yet they had great influence in it. As trade developed, towns along the trade routes became richer and richer. Some developed into great cities, such as Paris, France. This increase in wealth and riches lead to the increased prosperity of the local merchants,…show more content…
Many of the local merchants were often run out of business because they could not compete with the selection and the quick service of the traveling guilds of merchants. Also, some towns left their former suppliers for these new, cheaper services that the merchants could supply, and many towns fell into ruin because of the foreigners. Also, as the sheer number of people were attracted to these wealthy capitals of the medieval world, crime and overcrowding became major concerns. Disease spread easily and quickly through these towns, usually killing thousands instead of the usual hundred or so in the smaller
Open Document