Welcome

Anti Essays offers essay examples to help students with their essay writing.

Sign Up

How far do you agree that the decline of serfdom in the 14th Century can be attributed solely to the Black Death? Essay

  • Submitted by: alimac_1
  • on December 13, 2008
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,465 words

Open Document

Below is an essay on "How far do you agree that the decline of serfdom in the 14th Century can be attributed solely to the Black Death?" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

In medieval society, the feudal system was the way of holding land on the basis of the granting of fiefs in exchange for military service.   Serfs worked hard in the lord’s demesne for large portions of the year, in exchange for law and protection, food and a place to live.   However, by 1500, in most of Western Europe, serfdom had been replaced by Copyholding across Western Europe, where peasants paid a fixed annual rent for the land they lived on.   The middle ages had come to an end.   Could this “revolution in the occupation of land” (Rogers) have been the result of a plague carried in the guts of fleas, spread by a rat?   For many years, the view of historians such as Rogers and Harvey that landholders were forced to change from using serfs because the lack of labour (caused by the Black Death) forced them to do so, was accepted as the common view. After a time, other historians such as Fossier and Hilton who held the view that land-holders chose to change the organisation of their lands from using serfs to renting out their land, became the commonly accepted view.   However, in recent years, the view of Rogers and Harvey is coming again to be the more widely accepted view.

There are a number of arguments that support the view that the Black Death solely caused the decline of Serfdom.   It is believed that one third of all labourers died as a result of the Black Death, some suggest more.   The Chronicler of Louth Park Abbey commented that “so great a multitude was not swept away, it was believed, even by the flood in the days of Noah.”.   In crowded cities, it was not uncommon for more than fifty percent of the population to die.   Rogers said that this brought about “a complete revolution in the occupation of land”, land holders were now forced to change from using serfs to work the land, to other practices such as animal husbandry, which was popular because sheep provided meat and wool, while all that was needed to keep them was a shepherd and dogs. They would...

Show More


Citations

MLA Citation

"How far do you agree that the decline of serfdom in the 14th Century can be attributed solely to the Black Death?". Anti Essays. 15 Dec. 2018

<http://cassandralynndesignllc.com/free-essays/Far-Do-You-Agree-Decline-Serfdom-26944.html>

APA Citation

How far do you agree that the decline of serfdom in the 14th Century can be attributed solely to the Black Death?. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from the World Wide Web: http://cassandralynndesignllc.com/free-essays/Far-Do-You-Agree-Decline-Serfdom-26944.html