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Feudalism in Europe

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Early into the Middle Ages, kings and rulers in Europe were fast beginning to lose power. Invasions from the Vikings, Muslims and the major Arabs made it difficult to keep law, order and place. People needed protection. And in their need for shelter, a new system of feudalism, evolved. Feudalism was a loose system of law in which powerful lords divided their land holdings among lesser lords. In exchange, these lesser lords pledge their service and loyalty to the greater lord. At the top of the feudalism chart stood the kings. They managed and ruled over the entire empire. Below the kings came the lords, wealthy landowners who held power over the vassals and peasants by offering them protection. Faithful to the lords were the vassals or knights who offered the lords their warning services in return for their land. Below the vassals were the peasants or serfs. The serfs did all the menial jobs but they had their own piece of small land in return for protection from the manor when invaders came in. Manor, which included a large house with surrounding villages was thoroughly self-sufficient. The serfs produced everything that the manor needed, from furniture to weapons. Serfs were taxed heavily, the lord would require a certain amount of money coming in from the state so the knight would ask for some taxes to be levied. Knights were known for their chivalry while on duty. A knight would always help a woman and that was one of the unwritten laws of being a knight. Noble women were quite independent in their day as their husband would be out defending his land. Mutual obligations were a big thing of feudalism. Lords and vassals had a contract known as the feudal contract. The lord would give a vassal a fief of land in return for service. Vassals had fiefs from different lords, but a lead lord was the lord that the vassal would first serve. Castles were fortified to prevent intruders from entering. A moat surrounding the castle and a man which survived the surroundings from a keep. The family that lived in the castle would also have cell elevated stored items in case of a siege. The economy was boosted by the agricultural revolution with the introduction of iron ploughs as well as windmills. The windmilss would keed the grain turning into flour using wind energy. Previously wooden ploughs were used and they were not effective in the heavy soils of Europe. However, the best thing that happen was the introduction of the three field system. One field had grains, the other had legumes, one wasn't planted. The legumes added a variety and gave the peasants strength. The decline of feudalism came when rich nobles were allowed to pay for soldiers rather than to fight themselves. The threat of the mercenaries led on to the employment of professional trained soldiers, the standing armies, and ultimately, to the end of feudalism.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 57 seconds
Country: Spain
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 444
Posted by: ang_ruiz on Dec 16, 2011

The dominant social system in Europe during Middle Ages.

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