age of transition / crusades 1000 ad - 1500 ad

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1 Description of the migration movement
2 Causes of migration
3 Consequences of migration
4 Reactions on migration

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PERIOD:

Demography and economy:
Between the 10th century A.D. and the Plague in 1350 the population in Europe almost doubled in size. A lot of wasteland was cultivated in order to provide food for all these people, so much in fact that some were freed from the need to participate in primitive production of food and instead became clergy, artists or scientists.

Between 1347 and 1351 about one third of the European population was killed by the plague. After this disaster, smaller epidemics continued to strike Europe so that the population did not recover quickly. In addition to this, farmers had very small pieces of land and too much had been brought under cultivation. The growth that had taken place in the previous centuries was no longer possible. There was no new land available to be cultivated; the wasteland that was still there had to remain so since medieval farmers needed a certain amount of wasteland to run their business. In these conditions a bad harvest almost immediately led to famine.

Hard times had come for the farmers; besides famine and disease they had to cope with a bad grainmarket. The prices were low, because too much grain was being produced now that the population had diminished. Because of the low prices farmers produced even more the next year to get their usual amount of money. As a result the prices decreased further. Labourers on the other hand were very expensive. For many farmers it was not possible to change their business from grain-production to cattle breeding, which could have been a solution to this problem.

Many new cities had developed in the previous centuries, most of which appeared near citadels built during the invasions of the Norse. This did not mean however that Europe was urbanising quickly, as 90% of the population still made its living from agriculture and the cities often maintained a very rural character.

In Southern Europe, trade with the Near East as well as more remote areas was vital. The Italians played a mayor role in this respect, while the Jews were less active as a result of the crusades.

Politics:
The power of the church had diminished due to internal conflicts. People developed a very personal religion which included many mystical elements. Religious leaders responded to this development with the persecution of heretics during the 14th and 15th centuries. They also tried to spread Orthodox Christian beliefs to other areas, for instance by organising crusades.

Another seed of trouble lay in the conflict between central and local power within rising "states". There were many succession-right problems whereby cities and local lords wanted to keep their autonomy, whereas monarchs wanted to keep centralised power in their own hands.

A third political characteristic of Europe was a changing attitude towards the rest of the world. Europe was an area of expansion in the 11th to the 14th century, contrary to its previous position as a besieged fortress in the 9th and 10th centuries. Some contacts that already existed with Asia, the Middle East, overseas areas on the skirts of Africa and even America were strengthened and expanded upon during this period.

EFFECT OF CHARACTERISTICS ON MIGRATION:

Demography and economy:
Unfavorable circumstances together with often-high tax-burdens caused farmers in Western European to abandon their land and led to the phenomenon of wandering paupers. In search of work, these people travelled to other rural areas where industry was just starting to appear or to cities, where they were faced with the guild system that made it difficult to find a job. In Eastern Europe, the phenomenon led to serfdom for many impoverished farmers as Lords forced their subjects to stay and work for them. Trade also caused many people to move; Italians for instance travelled as far as China in 1270. Facts about these migrants can be found below under the heading: searching for work.

Politics:
The persecutions of heretics created many religious refugees. Jews and Moors left Spain; Jews left France and England etc. The crusades also caused migration. Facts on these migrants can be found below under the heading: religion.

The internal conflicts within rising "states" created political refugees. There were conflicts in France between Armagnacs and Burgundians, the Wars of the Roses in England, conflicts between Italian cities, between Spanish kingdoms etc. Facts on these migrants can be found below under the heading: central versus autonomy.

The third political cause of migration was expansion. Germans went to the East "Drang nach Osten". Vikings went to overseas areas, as did the Portuguese. Newly formed "states" fought with each other about territory: Hundred Years War between England and France (1337-1453), wars between Italy and Aragon, wars between Scandinavian states and Hanseatic-cities, revolts of Slaves against the German expansion etc. In the meanwhile Turks migrated into parts of Asia Minor and later on into Southeast Europe. Facts on these migrants can be found below under the heading: expansion

Up1. DESCRIPTION OF THE MIGRATION MOVEMENT

1.1 Who were they and where did they come from: ethnic origin, geographical background, religion, adults, men or women, special qualities?
 

* 9th - 14th century: 300.000 - 400.000 German farmers, knights and inhabitants of the Hanseatic-cities moved to Silezia, etc.
* 10th - 15th century: Political refugees from several internal conflicts went to neighbour-countries. Armagnacs against Burgundians in France, Wars of the Roses in England, conflicts between Italian cities, between Spanish kingdoms etc.
* 13th century: Jews went away from England and France.
* 1336: Portuguese went to Canaries.
* 1350 - ....: Paupers in Western Europe went to other rural areas and to cities.
* 10th - 15th century: Political refugees from countries at war went to other countries.
* 1099 - 1244: Knights and common people went to the Holy Land.
* 11th - 13th century: People migrated from Northern Spain and from the other side of the Pyrenees to the areas in Central and Southern Spain conquered by the Reconquista.
* 11th - 13th century: Religious refugees from the Reconquista (Moors and Jews) migrated from Northern and Central Spain to Grenade and Eastern Europe (Poland and Lithuania).
* 1237: Mongols started penetrating the Russian area.
* 1270: Italians (merchants, scientists and missionaries) went to China. Marco Polo went there between 1271 and 1295.
* 1200 - 15th century: Merchants, many from Italy, went to the Near East and other destinations.

1.2 How did they travel: transport, circumstances of travelling?

1.3 When?
 

* 1200 - 15th century: Merchants, a lot from Italy, went to the Near East and other destinations.
* 1099 - 1291: About 250.000 Europeans were in the Near East.
* 1099 - 1244: Knights and common people went to the Holy Land.
* 11th century: Vikings must have reached the North American coast. {Can}

1.4 How many?

1.5 Permanent or temporary?
 

* 1099-1244: Some of the crusaders (mostly French) stayed in the Holy land, Cyprus or the area near Constantinople for good.
* 12th century: Italian merchants settle in the Byzantine Empire and Italian crusaders settle in Central Greece.
* 1200 - 15th century: The Italians stayed in China until the 15th century.

1.6 Where did they go to and where did they stay?

* 1099 - 1244: Knights and common people went to the Holy land, Cyprus and the area around Constantinople with the crusades 200.000 people, mostly French, settled there.
* 9th - 14th century: 300.000 - 400.000 German farmers, knights and inhabitants of the Hanseatic cities moved to Silezia, etc. Brandenburg, Mecklemburg, Pommeren, Saxen, Prussia and the Baltic States as far as the Finnish Gulf. This is called the "Drang nach Osten". They drove the Slaves that lived East of the Elbe away or integrated them. The border of their empire was moved to the Vistule. To the South they went along the Danube and reached the Carpathians and Transylvania.
* 10th - 15th century: Turks migrate into parts of Asia Minor and later on into Southeast Europe. In the second half of the 14th century the Turks are already in Thrace. They move into the areas where the Serbs, Macedonians and Bulgars lived. In 1453 the Turks took over Constantinople.
* 11th - 14th century: 100.000 French migrated to England.
* 1336: Portuguese went to Canaries. In 1340 they went to the Azores and Madeira. They brought slaves to these newly conquered areas. {Can}
* 1200 - 15th century: Merchants, a lot from Italy, went to the Near East and other destinations.
* 1237: Mongols started penetrating the Russian area.
* 1400: Irish went to England: to Irish colonies in Britain.
* 14th - 17th century: Jews went to Poland and Lithuania.

Up2. CAUSES OF MIGRATION

2.1 Circumstances that favoured migration
 

* 1350 - ....: Farmers in Europe had problems. They only had small pieces of land and labourers were expensive. Grain prices were low and farmers did not have the capital to start a cattle-breeding business. Many them had to leave their land behind.
* 1270: Italians could go to China because the Mongols, that ruled the area, protected them.

2.2 Circumstances that hindered migration
 

* 1099 - 1244: Jews were not welcome in many countries ever since the crusades started.
* 1350-.....: In Eastern Europe serfdom slowed down migration.
* 15th century: Italians couldn't stay in China from the 15th century onwards because the Mongols were not as powerful as they used to be.

2.3 Direct causes of migration
 

* 1066: Normandy beat England at the battlefield and this caused a migration of 100.000 French to England in the following centuries.
* 11th - 13th century: Causes of the colonisation- and conversion activities and crusades that were unfolded by the Western part of Europe:
- growing population,- a class of professional warriors, farmers who were after land and freedom, - merchants looking for new markets, - an ever more assured church
* 1099-1244 Crusades caused the migration of knights and common people to Jerusalem.
* 11th - 13th century: The Reconquista performed by the Northern part of Spain led to the founding of the kingdoms Aragon, Castillia, Navarra and Portugal and caused many religious refugees. The Islam (Moors) was driven back South and only Grenade remained Islamic.
* 12th century: Italian merchants settled in the Byzanthian Empire, because the economic power of that empire waned and Italian merchants took an important place in the trade. After the victory of the Western Christians, led by Venice, in 1204, crusaders got pieces of land and divided the possessions of the throne amongst themselves. In this manner a number of principalities arose in Central Greece.
* 1350 - ....: Some farmers could not make a living anymore and started looking for work elsewhere.
* 13th century: France and England expelled Jews.
* 9th - 14th century: German "Drang nach Osten", leads to colonisation of areas where Slavs who remained heathen lived. This caused migration of German farmers to the newly conquered lands.
* 10th - 15th century: Several political conflicts caused political refugees. Armagnacs against Burgundians in France, Wars of the Roses in England, conflicts between Italian cities, between Spanish kingdoms etc.
* 10th - 15th century: Political conflicts between the political and economic powers that were established in the previous period of expansion. The 100-year war between Britain and France (1337-1453) England had penetrated a large part of France, wars between Italy and Aragon, wars between Scandinavian states and Hanseatic-cities, revolt of the Slavs against the German expansion caused a stream of political refugees to other countries.
* 10th - 15th century: The Turks founded the Ottoman Empire. This caused a migration of Turks over large parts of Eastern Europe
* 14th - 17th century: Jews went to Poland and Lithuania because they could live there safely.

Up3. CONSEQUENCES OF MIGRATION

3.1 Short term consequences
Positive consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment / native born
- for the country they left

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment / native born

* 1237: The direct result of the quick advance of the Mongols into Russia and Europe is that Western Europe becomes very frightened.
* 1240: The Mongols have conquered the whole Russian area including Novgorod.
- for the country they left
* 11th - 13th century: Many Spanish Jews and Moors were artisans and merchants, when they were expelled from Spain, this brought great injury to the economy.

3.2 Long term consequences

Positive consequences
- for the migrants (second and first generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (second and first generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Up4 REACTIONS ON MIGRATION

4.1 Reactions of the receiving society on the immigrants
- official reaction
 

* 12th century: The Byzanthian Empire wanted to win the territories back from the Venetian leaders, but first the Byzanthian people had to be united. To stimulate this, the leaders stirred up anti-Latin feelings.

- reaction of the common people
 
* 12th century: Many of the Italian merchants who settled in the Byzanthian Empire after the Crusades became scapegoats for a wide variety of trouble. The native population was very hostile to their new Venetian leaders, who more or less colonised the area. The Greek in particular were very displeased with this situation since the leftovers of the Byzanthian Empire around Nicea offered wealth and freedom while they were forced to live in relatively poor circumstances and oppressed by the Venetians. They sought consolation in their religion, the orthodox Church.

4.2 Reactions of the immigrants on their new environment
- integration / assimilation
- maintaining their own identity
 

* 1336 - 1496: The Portuguese acted very hostile towards the inhabitants of the Canaries. They were killed in bloody fights with the Portuguese. About 1496 the natives were beaten. Madeira and the Azores did not have any natives.
- differences between first, second and third generation

IN SHORT

Migration took place for several reasons during this period. First of all, the economic situation was poor for farmers, many of which lost their land and became paupers. Whereas in Western Europe these people went looking for work, in Eastern Europe landowners tied their labourers to te land by means of serfdom. Secondly, people were on the move as a result of religious persecution, crusades or political conflicts. The desire of the new "states" to expand drove migration, as did their struggle with local forces.

 

 

 

Dr. Marlou Schrover