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Businessmen. They became savvy businessmen and learned to deal with Italian moneylenders and bankers. The English, Belgians, Germans, and Dutch took their coal, timber, wood, iron, copper, and lead to the south and came back with luxury items such as wine and olive oil. . Tradesmen.

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businessmen
Businessmen
  • They became savvy businessmen and learned to deal with Italian moneylenders and bankers. The English, Belgians, Germans, and Dutch took their coal, timber, wood, iron, copper, and lead to the south and came back with luxury items such as wine and olive oil.
tradesmen
Tradesmen
  • With the advent of trade and commerce, feudal life declined. As the tradesmen became wealthier, they resented having to give their profits to their lords.
boroughs
Boroughs
  • Arrangements were made for the townspeople to pay a fixed annual sum to the lord or king and gain independence for their town as a "borough" with the power to govern itself. The marketplace became the focus of many towns.
town governments
Town Governments
  • As the townspeople became "free" citizens, powerful families, particularly in Italy, struggled to gain control of the communes or boroughs. Town councils were formed.
guilds
Guilds
  • Guilds were established to gain higher wages for their members and protect them from competitors. As the guilds grew rich and powerful, they built guildhalls and began taking an active role in civic affairs, setting up courts to settle disputes and punish wrongdoers.
the merchant class
The Merchant Class
  • The new merchant class included artisans, masons, armorers, bakers, shoemakers, ropemakers, dyers, and other skilled workers.
masons
Masons
  • Of all the craftsmen, the masons were the highest paid and most respected. They were, after all, responsible for building the cathedrals, hospitals, universities, castles, and guildhalls.
apprentices
Apprentices
  • Masons learned their craft as apprentices to a master mason, living at lodges for up to seven years. The master mason was essentially an architect, a general contractor, and a teacher.
the first companies
The First Companies
  • The population of cities swelled for the first time since before the Dark Ages. With the new merchant activity, companies were formed. Merchants hired bookkeepers, scribes, and clerks, creating new jobs.
the printing press
The Printing Press
  • Printing began in 1450 with the publication of the Bible by Johannes Gutenberg. This revolutionized the spread of learning. Other inventions of the time included mechanical clocks, tower mills, and guns.
the birth of the renaissance
The Birth of the Renaissance
  • The inventions of Leonardo da Vinci and the voyages of discovery in the fifteenth century contributed to the birth of the Renaissance.
urban life
Urban Life
  • Few serfs were left in Europe by the end of the Middle Ages, and the growing burgher class became very powerful. Hard work and enterprise led to economic prosperity and a new social order. Urban life brought with it a new freedom for individuals. 
references
References
  • Adapted from the Annenberg Media/Learner.org website “The Middle Ages”http://www.learner.org/exhibits/middleages/