Middle Ages STATION #12  ECONOMY

. Towns and Cities:

Growth of cities/ towns.

In the beginning of the “Middle Ages” it was unusual to live in a city or a town, most lived in the countryside. Over the years more and more people started to move to cities and towns. The towns depend on the country to produce food.
this is what a town would look like in the middle ages
this is what a town would look like in the middle ages
Nobles give small pieces of land to knights for them to live on and pay taxes. Until Kings encourage people in the countryside to move to the towns and cities. As time passed towns began to flourish, growing and becoming more a threat to other places and more common for attack from foreign invaders, trying to take the land. Lords and soldiers trying to gain power.
Many Nobles feared attack would happen. Vikings and others who defeated rome were still out attacking. Many took the land they owned and moved someplace different and starting up there own town/ villages. Nobles began to commonly own manor houses, farm land, small towns and villages. Later in time Nobles began to own and make there own castles.

After being attacked, they began to put up stone walls to prevent invaders from a direct attack. Making towns and cities grow even bigger. Many of the towns and cities in Europe were smaller than most others. As the towns grew more craftsmen and trade were being introduced. They offered protection to those who were trading with them, but towns were busy they could be dangerous and unhealthy to live in. As the population grew so did criminals they now lurked about pit picketers and cut pursers were always on the move for they’re next victim, diseases were all over the place because the towns were so dirty, they were also very very loud. By the fifteenth century most towns had a castle in the heart of it providing protection to everyone who lived by it. There was one main castle that everybody thought was at the center of Europe, there for giving people the idea to have a castle in the heart if there town.

Towns were being started and trade was taking off. Middle ages towns, started by tiny villages on the country side near a castle or monasteries. When peoples business increased many people became richer and stronger. Towns where kings and lords domains. At night there was a bell to tell towns people it was curfew time. Most towns were governed by an elected mayor. Changes to that started to happen around the 11th century. The most famous towns and cities where in Italy and Flanders. Most towns disappeared after the barbarians conquered.

-Laticia & Jake.

2. Merchants, Trade, and fairs:

Merchants Role in trade.

Merchants Trade and Fairs

Towns began to flourish with trade. In the begging they only had luxury goods and everything else had to be made by your self or found in the farmland. If you had a son in craftsmen ship you would take it upon yourself to teach them tricks in your trade.
Many boys at the age of 12, were apprenticed with a master of the trade he would take on. The boy would live with his master for 7 years learning and improving till he was issued to become a “Journey Man” traveling and looking for his own work. When markets were first started they were only once or twice a week. Foreign merchants came by pack horses two to three times a year every year.
As many know a man was known by his trade. Markets that were large and still expanding were being called fairs. Buyers and sellers met up once a year at a huge fair on the same day. The fairs often were in there own country and many traveled days to get there. The most popular and longest fair in history recorded was in England. It lasted three weeks and filled up every alleys and many connecting alleys were to full to get properly through. It was often so filled up with booths that people laid blankets on the ground in front of others booths, creating conflicting between lots.
Most fairs were held in Europe once a year. Fairs often took place after or during a religious festival when all is gathered together. Soldiers traveled with groups keeping them guarded and protected from others. Merchants had to sign up for space to put up a table or stall to begin fairs. Many started contracts with others regarding there items. Many fairs were considered the center of fun and entertainment for all.

-Laticia and jake

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3.Trade Routes.

There are many trade routes but there are only two trade routes that are continuously used by everyone for a long time. They were called the silk and spice routes. Many merchants bought and sold on there way to there destination, gaining items they can sell to others for more.


The spice route was from land to sea trade routes all over the world. Spices were mainly from; China, India, and majority of the Middle East. Indonesia was called spice island for holding and producing most of the main spices used, in the Middle Ages. Many wealthy medieval Europeans used spices for flavoring there food, making wonderful perfumes for special occasions. Spices were also used in medicine only medicine was not popular and became very expensive and at times unneeded.

The main route for the spices was to Italy and Europe but they also stopped at smaller places on the way.


The silk route was said to be 6,800 miles -(11,000 kilometers). The silk route was started in China. Merchants made many stops on the way to Constantinople in what we call now Turkey. Many only travelled half way before returning to there home. Most had either a donkey, camels and or, ships to transport there goods from place to place. The ships were used only in need of long travel.

Many Chinese merchants had, Silk, fine cotton, and many fabulous fabrics unnamed. The most popular fabrics and materials sold by Chinese merchants is; Silk, and on a good year fine cotton as well. The fabrics that are unnamed are very expensive making it so only a wealthy people could afford.

Official trade routes-Spice route, ...  Mainly used by anybody but merchants selling and later guilds.
Official trade routes-Spice route, ... Mainly used by anybody but merchants selling and later guilds.

4. Crafts & Trade.

-Many different types of trade.

-Role of craftsmen and trade.

Many people in the towns and cities were craftsmen. Medical crafts people worked In textile industries, there craftspeople would make their own items to trade or for their friends and family, or even items for their house.
Large windows on industries would open and they had shelves on them to hold items that were made that day and items that are going to be or sale. These shelves were used as display.
Signs hung above shops and industries, but these signs didn’t have writing on them, they had pictures because a lot f the towns people could not read let alone write.
The trade industry grew very fast, lots of items where sold or traded every day, almost every person participated in the trade and selling of items. Every thing from food to hand crafted items where sold at the annual fairs that were held to sell and trade items.
Merchants buying and selling elegant work they had made. Many were poor, and that didnt change till guilds were formed. Guilds became one of the highest of the middle ages citizens when they were created one step down from Kings,Queens, and so on.
Merchants buying and selling elegant work they had made. Many were poor, and that didnt change till guilds were formed. Guilds became one of the highest of the middle ages citizens when they were created one step down from Kings,Queens, and so on.

5. Guilds.

the objective of the guilds were to gain high wages, the guilds would also help out fallen members by providing them with money. through time guilds became rich & powerfull. guilds dont let women members, but women stilll learned skilled trades. lots of women worked with their father or husband. silk weaving was always done by women. but since women only do silk weaving, it doesnt mean that they can start their own guild. some of the more rich guilds had chambers & guildhalls, this is were members can come and meet for a banquet. guild court will punish members that broke the law, they mad the punishments harsh, for they do a great deal for thier members if a member was sick or in trouble they helped, if a member died they would give money to family. the guilds infuenced good behavour and promoted it! if there was bad conduct member would be expelled could be for life or for a cetain amount of time. most guildsmen would have to wear uniforms. but learning trades took very long it wasnt a walk in the park. it ws very hard work.


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By: Laticia and Jake