Stages of Development of Western
Europe During Middle Ages
Chapter 10 (1 of 4)
What were the Middle Ages?
Middle Ages = Term for western
Europe during the Postclassical Era
(A.P. World History’s 3rd time period)
Middle Ages began with the fall of
Rome (476) and ended in the 1400s
The Middle Ages are also called the
Dark Ages
If you see the term “the West” =
western Europe (later includes
The Early Middle Ages (450-900)
First part of Middle Ages
= western Europe had
many problems and
considered backwards
Italy was struggling after
the fall of Rome and
Spain was ruled by
Eventually, western Europe would recover and advance rapidly, but
that wasn’t until the later part of the Middle Ages (after 900 C.E.)
Early Middle Ages = Western Europe Weak
Western Europe often
invaded, making it hard
to advance
Vikings = Scandinavian
raiders, invaded Europe
between 700s and 1000s
Literacy Low In Early Middle Ages
Manor System
Manor System
Manorialism = economic
and political system b/t
landlords and their
Manor System (Feudalism)
increased due to a lack of
trade during early part of
the Middle Ages
A Serf’s Life
Serfs = most peasants, who were farmers, lived on selfsufficient estates called manors, got protection from
lord (noble) in return for part of their good
Serf life was
low and
(had to spend
many days
caste or
working on
lord’s land)
Though limited, some new
technology did help
Moldboard Plow = new
plow that could get
through heavy soil
Three-Field System =
crop rotation leaving
less land unused
Not slaves
(couldn’t be
bought and
sold) owned
land as long as
The Church
After the fall of Rome, the
church was the only strong
form of organization
(governments weak)
Pope sponsored missions
(converted England,
Germany, parts of eastern
Europe) to Christianity
German warrior
who converted to
Christianity in 496
and got control
over the Franks
(German tribe
living where
France is today)
The Role of Monasteries
Many monasteries built
during the Middle Ages,
and they played a big role
in medieval society
Monasteries showed the
spiritual focus of medieval
society and promoted
education and literacy
Charles “The Hammer” Martel
Ruler of the Franks (he was from
the Carolingian family)
Defeated Muslims at Battle of
Tours (732) stopping Muslim
advance into western Europe
Later Carolingian ruler
who established empire
in France and Germany
around 800, called Holy
Roman Empire
Looked like glory of
Rome would be revived,
but never occurred
After Charlemagne’s
death in 814, empire
split into 3 sections
(France, Germany, Low
Countries) so each of his
sons could have one
Western Europe became
series of regional
monarchies with weak
kings (aristocracy
Most powerful of these
regional monarchies in
Germany and northern
Europe Divided
Culturally western Europe No single language in
was united through
western Europe (Latin
was language of church,
but politically it was very but spoken language was
French, English, etc)
Things Turn Around Year 900
Agricultural Innovations
such as the
moldboard plow, threefield system, horse
collar, and stirrups
Viking raids began
stopping in the 900s
This led to population
growth, which led to
economic innovation
and the growth of cities
and towns
Economic Growth
More people meant more
markets, trade grew
Harsh serfdom still
existed, but serfs
gaining more
Feudal system weakened as towns grew
(demand for peasant labor increased and
landlords needed to entice them by giving
them more freedom (now charged rent)
A commercial,
economy began to
exist in western
Growth of Towns and Cities
Towns and cities grew
rapidly especially in Italy
Merchant activity and craft
production grew
Literacy spread in urban
centers, as did use of
vernacular (spoken)
languages, like French and
Asia still had more in cities
than western Europe, but
they were growing in
western Europe
Universities Grow
Church based
schools formed in
By 1000s, first
created – they
trained middle
class in the cities in
medicine, and law
By 1100s, modern
western Europe
(such as Oxford
and Cambridge in
Getting Back to the Feudal System
 Began by 500s
 Originally very local (lords had 5-10
vassals) but could span over large
areas or kingdoms (such as
Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire)
 Feudalism hurt development of
strong monarchies (feudal lords had
power) but it reduced local warfare
 Kings used feudalism to build power
(France started as feudal lords near
Paris who gradually expanded and
built monarchy)
William the Conqueror
Set up a central monarchy
with a bureaucracy to help
Led the Norman (from
Normandy, France)
invasion of England in
1066, extending feudal
system to England
Feudal Monarchies
Growth of feudal
monarchies similar to
China – both extensive
To extend power, feudal
monarchies hired
professional armies, and
hired businessmen to run
Limited Government
Strong monarchies
didn’t develop across
Europe, as regional
states and feudal lords
still had much power
Ex: Magna Carta and
King John (1215) –
forced to give up power
(couldn’t add new taxes
w/out parliament’s ok
Parliament = legislative
body representing 3
privileged estates
(church, nobles, urban
leaders) not commoners
Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453)
War fought between
France and England
Led to decline of feudal
system (monarchs) saw that
feudal militaries (which did
most of fighting) weren’t
too effective, and a paid
was army better
Since noble’s military power
no longer needed, feudal
system began fading away
Western Europeans Crave Expansion
As the economy of western Europe began to grow, a period of
expansionism occurred
Reasons for expansion:
1. Population was growing
2. Desire to spread Christianity
Germans expanded east, Christians eventually drove Muslims out of
Spain, Vikings got to what is today Canada
The Crusades
The Crusades were
the biggest
Urban II – Pope
who ordered 1st
Lasting impact of
Crusades was West
being exposed to
Middle Eastern
Religious Reform
Reform movements
began to remove this
secularism from the
church and rid church
of interference of
feudal lords
Church officials often
caught up in politics,
hurting church
Began Western idea
of separation of
church and state
Investiture – practice of
government appointing
bishops, Gregory VII fought
Holy Roman Emperor Henry
IV on this issue and won
Gregory VII – Pope
(1073-1085) reformed
Height of Medieval Civilization
Merchant activity was
growing and the feudal
system was slowly
dying out
Medieval Western
civilization reached its
peak in the 1100s and
the 1200s

Stages of Development of Western Europe During …