Investigating the Black Death Contents


Trade Route Start Point



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Trade Route

Start Point

End Point

Distance

Goods likely sold on the route

































  1. Some cities, such as Vienna, grew and flourished during medieval times because they were located on a trading route. Those towns and cities that were located at the junction of several trading routes became especially prosperous. List the three cities that you believe would have been the most prosperous and explain your reasoning.

Town / City

Why do you believe this town was very prosperous?


















  1. Locate a modern atlas or Google Maps, which shows the physical features of Europe. Consider why trade routes were developed in some regions but not others. Answer the following questions:

    1. What mountain barrier did traders have to cross between Toledo and Paris?

    2. Why was there no trade route between Vienna and Venice?

Source 1: Key Medieval Trade Routes and Goods Traded


Activity 3: Medieval Towns


During the early part of the medieval period, societies and economies of Europe were based around agriculture and land ownership. The people were governed through feudalism. Feudalism means that people gained land in return for duties and responsibilities that they owed to people who were higher up on the social scale than they were. However, from about 900 CE people began to live in towns which centred around a castle or manor house. As trade increased so did the size and populations of these towns.

Living conditions in towns

Homes for the poor in medieval towns were often just one or two rooms in one of the shabby multi-storeyed buildings clustered around the market area. Floors on the upper levels were often covered with straw. Over time this straw became a stinking squashed mat of rotting food, bones, bodily wastes and grease! Peasants bathed only once or twice a year. The poor and rich alike lived with lice, fleas and scurrying rats.



Life expectancy was very low. If an infant survived, on average they could only expect to live to be about 35 years old if they were male and about 31 years old if they were female.

Source 2: A modern artist’s impression of a medieval European town around the mid-1400s. Note the busy marketplace.





Instructions:

Answer the following questions with a partner.



  1. Why do you think the average life expectancy was lower for women than men?

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  1. Draw a concept map exploring some of the hardships you think that those living in early medieval towns might have faced. Think how these hardships might have affected family life, health, lifestyle, employment and life span. You can draw a concept map or create one on https://bubbl.us/mindmap





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