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12th and 13th centuries

Medieval economic revolution

In Europe during the late Middle Ages, sig­ni­ficant changes in agri­culture, tech­niques and trade. After a period of eco­nomic decline due in par­ticular to the great inva­sions, Europe exper­i­enced a period of eco­nomic growth that cul­minated in the 12th and 13th cen­turies and mani­fested itself in the con­struction of large cathedrals. Innov­a­tions improved yields in agri­culture (crop rotation), as in tex­tiles (ver­tical loom, spinning wheel). A striking feature is the devel­opment of energy sources other than human strength (animals thanks to shoulder collars and horse shoes, for draughting and trans­port­ation, but also wind and water thanks to wind­mills) and the arrival of new products such as paper, watches, com­passes and wheel­barrows. These innov­a­tions were fostered by the growth in trade: within Europe, with the con­struction of bridges, canals and the organ­isation of major « fairs » (in par­ticular in the Cham­pagne), but also with the Muslim world and Asia thanks to advances in ship­building and the crusades.

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