No Serfdom in Europe after the black death

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by LaSlavic86, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. LaSlavic86 Well-Known Member

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    Serfdom disappear in western after the black death but in estern Europe it remain.
    Could the Serfdom have disappear from estern Europe if Estern Europe was as densely populated as the west and suffered as bad as the west?
     
  2. Thoresby Well-Known Member

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    Nov 13, 2012
    It didn't disappear in much of Germany, it was only really in Britain, France and Italy that it was abolished and even that took a century post the Black Death. But as for Eastern Europe I think you need to weaken the local nobility and strengthen and King's. The big driver behind Western European abolition of serfdom was as another tool for strong Western Monarchs to tame their unruly nobles. In contrast in Eastern Europe Monarchs tended to placate their nobility by granting them increased authority over their tenants/labourers turning them into serfs.
     
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  3. cerebus Aardvark

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    Also as the west of Europe moved slowly towards manufacturing and higher value, lower manpower agriculture, more and more the east of Europe moved to supply grain to the west. This means much of what we think of as serfdom in the east was actually imposed later (16th/17th/18th C) by nobles/landowners to ensure their main source of income.
     
  4. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

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    Servitude had been very common in the West, and relatively absent in the East in the High Middle Ages. Later, the situation was reversed.
    Strong monarchs don`t necessarily help, see Muscovy`s/Russia`s example.
    In the Late Middle Ages, you had economically strong and important towns with skilled craftsmen; they recruited their labour from the surrounding countryside, so abolishing servitude was a means to increase these economic dynamics and profit from them. Also, centralising states in the West began to rely on mass infantry including firearms militarily.
    In the East, on the other hand, technological development in the crafts was lagging behind (hence the many German population imports), and cavalry remained dominant for a much longer time (also considering that the enemies you encountered were also primarily light cavalry).
    Then, there is @cerebus ` good point about later grain supplies: Eastern Europe had become fertile and was still thinly populated, it could become a net exporter of agricultural products, given that other options were not likely (the West was ahead in technology).

    Therefore, to have no servitude in all of Europe, you`d probably need to keep technological advances evenly distributed in the West and East, and towns more important than the nobility, or at least equally important, in both parts of the continent. No Mongol invasion might be a key moment here.
     
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  5. LaSlavic86 Well-Known Member

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    Could early development of Gunpowder Help Stop the Mongols
     
  6. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

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    Of the hundreds of no Mongol solutions proposed in dozens of threads, euro-gunpowder is not the best, that tech came from the East. Changing that migh alter Europe beyond recognition.
    There's many other ways.
    If Momgols weren't OTL, they'd be ASB.
     
  7. Sevarics A Bidet In Every Bathroom

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    Momgols makes me think of a nomadic tribe of mothers driving mini vans and SUVs across the plains and raiding cities to bring supplies back to their children's soccer games
     
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  8. LaSlavic86 Well-Known Member

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    Then Maybe Political Infighting stops the Mongols from invading Europe or Chengiz Khan was never born at all
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
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  9. missouribob Well-Known Member

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    Somehow make the Black Death worse? Maybe have another outbreak come through at the same time?
     
  10. Clandango Well-Known Member

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    Which sort of disease? There were already perhaps three types of plague going on which helped confuse matters for everyone as to symptoms, how things were spread, etc. I see things burning too quickly with anothe plague falling upon the land. People would isolate themselves too much for it to spread at some point or those moving a out would die in too great a numbers to continue spreading it.
     
  11. missouribob Well-Known Member

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    I really don't know. Epidemiology isn't my strong suit.
     
  12. mrmandias Regent

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    You've had all morning to clean up this pyramid of skulls and its still a mess! I'm taking away your string of horses, buster.
     
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  13. LaSlavic86 Well-Known Member

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    An Industriaized Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Would be interesting
     
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  14. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    The problem with that though is that the technological/societal advances in the West; including the rise of the burghers/towns and commerical economy, was at least somewhat dependent on the corresponding rise of the manorial/serf economy in the east. Abundant and cheap grain, timber, hemp, ect. produced by the economies of Eastern Europe helped jump-start the Baltic trade by giving all those Dutch and German merchants something they could buy and sell profitably in sufficient bulk to give them the money to challenge the nobility, while undercutting the agriculture and extraction-based wealth the nobility's land ownership provided, thereby allowing them to become more/equally as important. In all likelyhood, a more equal spread just keep the nobility more influential EVERYWHERE, since you now have a larger number of towns competing over a (relatively) smaller consumer market. Long-distance commerce simply isn't very practical when one region doesn't have comparative advantage over another.
     
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  15. LaSlavic86 Well-Known Member

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    Dont if this is stupid but, Can a more populated Estern Europe Help? Since this Would mean that you have a bigger Workforce and you dont need to Peasants to become Serfs
     
  16. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    Not likely. It'd just increase the local demand for food and force more farming of less than ideal lands while depressing the average productivity and earning capacity per-peasent. In fact, it was exactly that kind of overpopulation in Western Europe that further entrenched Serfdom in the west, lead to a wildly unpredictable economy as frequent famines/grain shortages and inflation during poorer harvest years made it harder to be a merchant/artisan, ect. prior to the Black Death, which raised the average standard of living and the value of the labor of the surviving peasants to the point they could demand some level of reform.
     
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  17. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

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    Mar 18, 2015
    @FillyofDelphi , I think i have to disagree here.
    The communal movement was already strong in the West when the East wasn't yet such a massive exporter. By the time serfdom came under pressure in the West and noble privileges became entrenched in the East, i.e. in the early 15th century, western towns were no longer solely driven and ruled by merchant oligarchs; the skilled craftsmen were struggling for and often achieving their place in the sun.

    Also, let's not forget the role of firearms in making a knightly ruling class obsolete. The stuff was expensive, though. When Polish-Lithuanian kings / grand dukes were compelled to raise strong forces, they couldn't afford to come up with something like the Spanish tercios; instead, they had a large number of knights at their disposal, and so instead of raising central royal taxes, they granted their nobility unprecedented privileges like the Nihil Novi.