Economic boom of the middle ages – Main Reasons
The 12th and 13th centuries had seen unprecedented economic growth. This economic boom of the middle ages was based on four main factors. These factors are territorial expansion, innovation in agriculture, developing cities and rising trade. These factors together led to fast economic growth at a level that unseen before.
The fast territorial expansion of the middle ages was an important reason behind the economic boom. The reason behind the territorial expansion was the improvement in the means of transportation. Transport networks in this era had grown quite advanced. The result was increased migration and expansion of frontiers. The frontiers of the European countries in Mediterranean, East Europe and Iberia expanded greatly. This expansion was mainly led by the group of warriors like Normans of France, Teutonic Knights, Crusaders and other similar warrior groups. Migration and expansion led to the creation of new classes. The competition among these classes for power was very high. This competition was also an important reason behind the boom of the era.
Innovation in agriculture:
Agriculture of the era saw several innovations happening. New techniques tools and methods of agriculture were introduced. The result was a major increase in productivity. The heavy plough and the three fields system had been introduced. New innovative methods of harnessing animal power had also been introduced. The horse collar was one of them. Along with these changes the wind mill and the tide mill also brought productive changes that benefited agriculture. The result was a significant increase in agricultural productivity. Surplus food and income also became an important reason that the economic boom took place.
Cities as hub of trade:
Development of cities as hubs of trade was another important reason that the economy saw a boom. Improved transportation networks also led to people’s movement from the rural to the urban areas. Cities started developing as they became new hubs of trade. They took the form of markets for products brought from the rural areas. Food and crafts from the rural areas were brought to the cities to be sold. Thus, growing urbanization brought an important change leading to boom in economic activity.
Increase in trade:
As agriculture improved, surplus food production and income led to other big changes. People now started moving towards other trade and crafts from agriculture. Surplus productivity led to extra income and people could both sell and keep for them. Introduction of coins was another factor that aided trade. People now had a convenient medium of exchange. With it, the competition among merchants and investors rose leading to a boom in economic activity.
These were the main reasons behind the surge in economic activity and the resulting economic boom in the middle ages.