Drop in Population


The Black Death, being a very bad time, had many extreme effects economically. Many cities were destroyed by the plague, and in those cities many people had died. The major drop in population density all over Europe was a big cause of all of the following effects on the economy. In london, it killed 35% to 40% of the population and in 30% of the Normandy population. [1]


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As you can see above, the population dropped millions of people due to the Black Death


A lot of financial business were effected and many debtors died. In many cities all the things that were being built at the time were completely stopped or abandoned. All the machines used to build these places was broken or left behind, and there was nobody to fix the machines either. There were very few people left to do all the labor, so the wages for labor increased as well. Almost all farms and villages were left and abandoned because most of the people that lived there had died. The villagers still alive didn't do anything about it and just tried to go on with their lives. The people that still had land didn't pay their rent, thinking it was acceptable because of all of the free land left behind. Tax money had become on the decline because of this.[2]
Many of the soldiers and mercenaries were dead, so they began asking for a much larger amount of money. They had an advantage since there was a limited number of them and they were needed.[3] Although some people were not making as much money as they were before the plague, others such as laborers started making more money because of the limited number of them for a long time.


The way serfs were being treated improved over time and kept moving in that direction because of the shortage of them as well. The even eventually gained more rights and were treated more like peasants and everyone else in society.


Lastly, the huge population drop that occurred also caused an oversupply of goods, which caused prices to drop in the goods, although it had risen in wages. The prices that had to get imported after the Black Death though, rose dramatically.[4]



The Effect of the Black Death on the Manor System


Whether the Black Death was the only reason for the social transformation Europe faced, or whether it was a contributor, after the Black Death had ended European society had a whole new look. Many local governments had already collapsed before the Black Death because of the Great Famine (1315-1317) and the Hundred Years War (1337- 1453.) The plague spread faster in cities than rural areas, killing more people due to the population density. This caused many people to flee the cities of Europe leaving small villages left deserted. This trend of de-urbanization became very popular and catastrophic, leaving cities with nothing left. However, once the plague ended the towns and cities repopulated again very quickly. [5]


After the plague ended, peasants had greater power than before because there were not as many peasants and laborers as before so these laborers were high in demand. This demand for peasants gave the under classes the ability to demand better compensation for their work. Laborers would now begin to fight for their rights by bargaining with the kings and dukes over their working conditions. Slowly as time went on the agriculture based manor system was failing as industry in Europe rose. This demand by the lords for workers and the demand for certain rights by the laborers ended serfdom, which is where the serfs were basically slaves, tied to the land because their ancestors had farmed there.[6]


Food inflation in Europe began to become an issue due to the high mortality rate that was caused by the Black Death.[7] While the wages and production costs rose, food prices dropped because there was more food than there were people to eat and buy the food. The falling revenue after the Black Death caused many middle class lords to give up and sell their estates. As the strength of the manor systems continued to weaken, a new, urban Europe was forming, creating the groundwork for what Europe is today.[8]


The huge population drop that occurred also caused an oversupply of goods, which caused prices to drop in the goods, although it had risen in wages. The prices that had to get imported after the Black Death though, rose dramatically.[9]

Trade and Commerce


Many economic affects deal with trade and commerce, and the Black Death changed many parts of trade and commerce. The changes took place all around Europe and they started doing so in the 1350’s, right after the tragic plague ended. About 40 million people died during this plague, including many construction workers and serfs. Financial business was disrupted because debtors died and landlords and credit lenders had nowhere to collect from.[10] Financial business was disrupted because debtors died and landlords and credit lenders had nowhere to collect from. In England, wages rose from 12% to 28%. [11] Although wages rose, the income stayed at the same level or even went down a bit.
united_kingdom_economy.gif


Although there was an oversupply in goods, the prices that had to get imported after the Black Death rose dramatically.


A devistating component that took place after the death was the smaller agricultural pool. It was no longer based off of the serfs and their dependence on the land. [12] Many of the serfs died, and landlords were desperate for serfs. The workers of the land demanded to receive higher payments after the plague.


Elaborating on what had been mentioned earlier, the shortage of serfs was how the standard living of a serf was raised. There was a rise of the prosperous middle class as well. They were no longer tied down to one master or one land, and they received raises because landowners were desperate for serfs. Although the landowners did what they could, pasture became less intensive, especially with all of the sheep. Eventually, the landowners gave up and the serfdom gradually disappeared over time.[13]


The commerce was quickly and intensively affected. It was mostly just put to a half, especially in Italy. [14]
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After the Black Death, half of the labor supplies and market demand had died. They could import and export very little, which caused these problems. Location was a big component to how badly it was affected by trade. For example, Bohemia wasn't a place big on trading from the beginning because of it's location, so it wasn't as badly affected by trade. [15] By the end of the year, there was a 93% drop in trade.[16] That is even worse than the Great Depression!

Overall Effects

Overall, the economic effects of the black death came to be quite a struggle. The population drop was a big cause of these terrible economic effects. For some people, it was a bad thing, but for others such as laborers and serfs, it was a good thing. As you see below, there were minimal Honsa trade routes after the Black Death and the ones left were the major routes. The main trade route now only took place within specific parts of Europe. There was major fair as well in what today is Holand. Although times were rough, everyone came together in the end and was on more of an equal level than before, which was good. Eventually, the population grew back to its old size and things went back to normal, but that took a few decades. [17]







post_black_death_trade_routes.jpg
This picture depicts the overall economy after the black death and shows you what places were impacted the most

  1. ^

    Gottfried, Robert. December 9 2011. http://www1.american.edu/TED/bubonic.htm
  2. ^

    Gray, Johnathan. December 9 2011. <http://www.inq.pdx.edu/journal/article4.html>.
  3. ^

    Unknown. December 9 2011. http://staff.bbhcsd.org/vendelc/black_death.htm
  4. ^

    Routt, David. December 1 2011. "The Economic Impact of the Black Death". http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/Routt.Black.Death
    URL
  5. ^

    USU 1320: History and Civilization. December 9 2011. <http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/index.htm
  6. ^

    USU 1320: History and Civilization. December 9 2011. <http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/index.htm
  7. ^

    Gray, Johnathan. December 9 2011. <http://www.inq.pdx.edu/journal/article4.html>.
  8. ^ USU 1320: History and Civilization. December 9 2011. <http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/index.htm>.
  9. ^

    USU 1320: History and Civilization. December 9 2011. <http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/index.htm>.
  10. ^

    Kishlansky. December 9 2011. http://www.luc.edu/faculty/ldossey/bubonicanov6.htm
  11. ^ Routt, David. December 1 2011. "The Economic Impact of the Black Death". http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/Routt.Black.Death
    URL
  12. ^

    Routt, David. December 1 2011. "The Economic Impact of the Black Death". http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/Routt.Black.Death
    URL
  13. ^

    Unknown. December 9 2011. http://staff.bbhcsd.org/vendelc/black_death.htm
  14. ^

    Ryan S. Davis. December 9 2011. http://entomology.montana.edu/historybug/YersiniaEssays/Davis.htm
  15. ^

    Gottfried, Robert. December 9 2011. http://www1.american.edu/TED/bubonic.htm
  16. ^ William Langland. December 9 2011. http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Black_Plague.pdf
  17. ^

    Routt, David. December 1 2011. "The Economic Impact of the Black Death". http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/Routt.Black.Death
    URL