The Long-Term Impact of the Black Death on the Medieval Agriculture Essay example

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The Long-term Impact of the Black Death on the Medieval Agriculture

As one of the most severe plagues in human history, the Black Death was unprecedented in two ways: on one hand, it was undoubtedly a terrible nightmare, which swept the entire Europe and killed so many people; however, on the other hand, it was also a unique event that accelerated the process of European agricultural history. In years before the Black Death, the European agriculture was already in trouble. Agriculture has long been the foundation of economy and society, especially during the time as early as in the Middle Ages. As the foundation of agriculture, corn production was the most important agricultural activity at the time. However, corn production
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It seemed that the Black Death was an evil disaster which made the entire continent into a hell. But actually it was not the complete story. In addition to the immediate influences of depopulation and agricultural

recession, the Black Death caused some deeper and long-term effects: it accelerated the decline of the serfdom and manorial system and thus, to some extent, altered the course of the European economy. As mentioned before, the Black Death caused a high mortality rate of approximately 30%~50%. With less labor, land lords had no choice but to reduce the rent in order to keep the peasants on their lands. As a result, the wages of those peasants increased. After the Black Death, the lucky survived peasants couldn’t bear the same burden as before the plague, and since labor turned out to be a scarce resource after the Black Death, the peasants had advantages when negotiating. Because of this, peasants started to demand more benefits for themselves. Though “this rising aspirations of workers prompted a variety of public and private strategies on the part of the employing classes to control them more tightly” , and some efforts were taken to control wages, but as “ Landlords had no incentive to maintain a landless class simply for the sake of keeping wages