History is a constant change that always repeats itself. Civilizations and developments rise and disappear in a short while to leave their history behind. Some are documented, while some disappeared never to be remembered by humankind. Only those who come after it can tell the positive or negative effects of the changes. In this case, Europe set a good example of the true picture of change.
There were changes in the economic environment that emasculated medieval institutions, traditions and customs in the Latin West. Industrial and commerce changes were symbolized by the emergence of towns and urban centers between 1200 and 1500. The growth of the urban centers and towns led to the increase of population in these areas. Further changes were yet to come. During these years, people began using eyeglasses, rope, clocks. Western Europeans began using navigational charts and advances were made in the smelting of ore. Engineering and technical expertise up-scaled; this led to the use of waterpower, increased production at fabric industry, and construction of stone castles. All these facilitated a change of both social and religious status of the Europeans.
Byzantium and the Islamic world civilizations provided a link between Middle East and the Mediterranean civilizations. This effect spread all over to other areas such as northern Europe and Africa. Europe connection with Byzantium and Islamic world led to the opening of and increasing of trade links between Middle East and Europe. It also facilitated the spread and interchange of religion and culture. Trade spread over greater distances; thus, Western Europe during a period of explosion in business. Other changes were noted in farming and crop production. Abundance of food led to a tremendous increase in population. The economy could not keep up with the increasing population. This instigated the economic recession, which was evident from the end of the 1200s.
More changes in Europe were brought about the Black Death that shrunken the Western Europe in the middle of the fourteenth century. It was one of the most disturbing pandemic in human history. It led to a big change in Europe’s population. Nearly 30% to 60% of the population was wiped out. This contributed to a significant drop in the world population. Reduced population meant reduced work force and thus, reduced productivity. The decrease in population brought economic changes that were based on increased social mobility.
Economic historians conclude that Black Death worsened a recession in the European economy. Consequently, it speeded up both social and economic change that was witnessed in the 14th and 15th centuries. The epidemic also affected the church. Its power and social role was weakened leading to domination of secular groups in humanitarian work. Many parts of Europe experienced revolts and uprisings due to the plague.
Serfdom was slavery or bondage condition, which was developed during the High Middle Ages in Europe. It lasted until the mid-19th century. It included the toil of serfs occupying a lord’s land for justice and protection benefits. He had the right to use certain fields within the mansion to maintain them. Serfdom involved working on all properties of the lord. The end of serfdom by the 15th century brought freedom to many peasants. This meant that lords had to start paying for labor and the serfdom could marry and make families. The ending of serfdom resulted into economic and population growth. This was attributed to the fact that it encouraged circulation of money and competition for job opportunities. Thus, it is arguably true that Europe set a perfect example of factors that can influence changes in any society. The events of between 1200 and 1500 are a real indication that change is constant.