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Word Count: 1,349
The Renaissance Renaissance French for rebirth perfectly describes the intellectual and economic changes that occurred in Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries During the era known by this name Europe grew out of the economic standstill of the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial growth Also and perhaps most importantly the Renaissance was an age in which artistic social scientific and political thought turned in new directions Feudalism In the feudal structure of the Middle Ages the nobles who lived in the country provided the king with protection in exchange for land Peasants worked the land for the nobles for which they received protection and their own small area of land These rural peasants worked from sunup to sundown but even the nobles had few creature comforts In feudal cities where there was a small middle-class population life was a little easier and individuals had the freedom to go after whatever trade or industry they liked In the late Middle Ages people left the country for towns and cities so they could get in on more profitable jobs The Plague Begins Life in the city was soon to change drastically During the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance 1350-1450 the bubonic plague also called the Black Death took the lives of one-third of the population of Europe The plague which was almost always fatal spread most rapidly in cities where people were in close contact with each other The only way to avoid the disease was to leave the city for the country This solution was unfortunately available only to those wealthy enough to make the trip The population decrease caused by the plague led to an economic depression Merchants and tradespeople had fewer people to whom they could sell their wares As occurrences of the plague decreased in the late fifteenth century populations grew creating a new demand for goods and services A new middle
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