This paper will look at the Agrarian revolution that occurred in 10th century and the resulting effects on the political, social, cultural and economic conditions in Europe.
Agricultural revolution in Europe was a period where there was witness of sustained changes in the way people carried out their farming activities. It had to do with increased output of products and general changes in the methods of carrying out agricultural activities on farmland.
10th century Europe fell under the “Middle ages, an era when agricultural methods of production were mostly peasantry in nature. Most of the populations during the 10th century Europe were serfs who were employed by other people to work on their farmlands” (Chris, par. 2).
There was no clear sub-division of land and the main tool farming was the ox drawn plow and the system of farming was the two field system. This was a system of farming where one field was cultivated while leaving the other one fallow so as to reclaim the soil’s nutrients. Population growth during these ages was very low. This can be attributed to the poor methods of farming which led to low yields hence food insecurity.
Agricultural revolution came about with the systematic changes in the methods of production. One major indicator of the revolution was through the consolidation of common land that led to introduction of individual ownership of those properties.
Thus rights of ownership were created through the abolition of the open field system of cultivation. The plow as the main tool of cultivation underwent redesigning, and also, the two-field crop rotation was changed to a three- field, and hence these served as contributors to the increased food production that occurred.
The Agricultural revolution that occurred at this time brought great impacts to the socio-economic conditions of Europe as a whole. One impact was increase in population, mostly in the towns. Individual ownership of land led to many people selling off their lands.
The consequences were that there was increase in the number of people without land, but who were working as laborers for the big landowners. Others migrated to towns and thus contributed to rapid population growth.
Furthermore adoption of better methods of farming led to increased food production and hence surplus production. This surplus production was then traded for other goods that were lacking. This served as the beginning of exchange of goods and services and also development of trading systems.
The agricultural revolution also served as the main cause of change from feudalism to capitalism. Introduction of wage labour whereby landlords entered agreements with workers served as the springboard on which market economy fundamentals were established and power over the land which was appropriated by those who controlled it.
Developments that resulted from the agricultural revolutions in terms of new towns, migrations and changes in land ownership necessitated changes in the political and cultural system of the people.
There were changes from “feudalism as the most dominant form of political organization to formation of the nation-state” (Adriaan, par. 4). Development of ideas of sovereignty led to establishment of monarchies in countries like France and England which were seen as the reflection of civilization.
“Moreover changes in the cultural mentality of the people were witnessed with the spread of renaissance ideas, diffusion of old ideas and the rise of secular attitudes in art, education and politics.” (par. 6).
The agricultural revolution was a crucial event as far as mankind is concerned. Interactions over time throughout man’s history that have brought about inventions and development of man’s civilization cannot be said to be complete without reference to the Agrarian revolution.
Adriaan Verhulst. “.Medieval Socio-economic Historiography in Western Europe: Towards an Integrated Approach.” Journal of Medieval History. June 1998. Mechelsesteenweg. Antwerp. Belgium. 12 Nov. 2008< http://www.sciencedirect.com/science>
Chris, Butler. “The agricultural revolution in medieval Europe.” The Flow of History.2007: 12 Nov. 2008 < http://www.flowofhistory.com/units/west>