Rise of Towns in Medieval Europe and America

Compare the rise of towns in Medieval Europe with towns in America Depending on the time period, the criteria for building and growth of the city could be religious, defensive, or for trade. The fall of the Roman empire, which had unified Europe, led to the Middle Ages. At it’s fall, trades were put to an end because of the change of money, and goods were too easily stolen during travel. This was a period of transition. The different states started or attempted to start a structure to rebuild cities.

In the beginning, many people left the cities to go to the countryside because cities were becoming too dangerous, and one could become self-sufficient for food needs in the countryside. We will see in this essay how the economy of western Europe prospered around A. D. 1000 with the increase of agricultural production which expanded opportunities in trade and encouraged the growth of towns. One will see how a comparison can be made of the rise of towns in Medieval Europe with towns in America. During that time, only a few people lived in castles; most were peasants who spent their lives farming in the countryside.

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However as the Middle Ages progressed, cities steadily gained in importance. Old cities grew and new cities were founded. The number of people in cities greatly increased. They had many of the same joys, sorrows, and fears that people had in the time where cities grew in America. This is the reason why we can find similarities in how and why the cities grew in Medieval Europe and America depending upon the time period chosen. We will compare the structure of the towns in Medieval Europe and America.

Secondly we will see how technological innovations and the population increased affected the growth of towns. Finally we will study trade. In Europe, towns only started to grow in size after about 1200 when the threat of the nomadic invasion was gone. About one in five of all European people lived and worked in a city or town. Some had been born there but many of them had migrated from the countryside. New towns grew up at safe harbors, along trade routes where roads met or rivers could be crossed and old towns expanded in the shadows of great cathedrals or fortified castles.

Europe’s largest city was Paris. There were 200. 000 people living in Paris in 1300. In Medieval Europe, cities and towns were often a cluster of homes and shops near a castle and often fortified walls. They were self-sufficient ; people could live their hole life without traveling beyond the borders of their city or town depending on where they lived. Throughout the city, there were open squares often in front of churches. Sometimes a group of houses was built around the square. Often the houses and the shops built around the main square progressively.

All the town revolves around the open-air market or the district dedicated to fairs and markets. The structure of these towns are mainly the same compared to the ones in the United States until the 19th century. Until that period, the center of the city was the most important place. Merchants, lawyers and manufacturers built townhouses within walking distances of the place they work. The middle class live a litter farther from the center of the town and the poorest live in the suburbs. Both towns in America and Medieval Ages mainly respect the same structure.

One can compare also compare the rise of towns Medieval Europe with America cities between the 19th and the 20th centuries. This time period represents the Industrial Revolution. There was an increase of the number of jobs along with technological innovations in transportation and housing construction. This encouraged migration to cities. This is also what happened A. D. 1000 in Europe. The three crop system was discovered. A new plowing system was also innovated. This way they were more sufficient and could sell the extra food.

This brought the farmers to the cities to trade their goods at the markets. The new comers often became craftsmen. In consequence, there was increase in population in the cities. Trade is one of the main elements which explain the rise of a town. Whatever their size or origins, all European towns had one thing in common : their most important activity was trade. Medieval traders sold an astonishing range of items such as everyday goods ( food, drinks, farm tools, cooking pots… ) but also luxury goods ( silks, spices, furs, wines, incense… ) which were imported from distant lands.

These towns grew rich on trade. Groups of craftsmen , such as goldsmiths or carpenters formed associations known as guilds to protect their craft and train apprentices in their skills. These guilds grew rich and contributed to the wealth of the towns. Trade didn’t only bring to development Medieval European towns. During the Gold Rush from 1848 to 1855 , California saw towns grow rapidly since 300. 000 people came to work. Houses are built, then shops and then before one knows, a town is built. Later on, in the 1950’s towns are built for the new workers in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

People migrated to Tulsa for the oil industry. In the Middle Ages as well as in America towns rose up for economic reasons. Even nowadays in America, North Dakota is getting more and more populated. New towns are built for all the new comers interested in the shale gas. We can see in America the growth of town resulting from marketing just like town in Medieval Europe resulted from trade. Throughout time, one can realize, that the basic structure of a city whether it was in the Medieval Ages or about one thousand years later is mainly the same.

One can find the center of the city and then it’s suburbs. Whether it was in Europe or in America, the main reasons of the rise of cities are technological innovations, the increase of population and trade. Medieval towns also had different reasons for their rise such as political effects or to protect themselves but these elements did not affect the rise of American towns. Even nowadays one can realize how important trade and economic business is important for the development of a town.

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Rise of Towns in Medieval Europe and America. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/rise-of-towns-in-medieval-europe-and-america/