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.