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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 19 THE EXPANSION OF EUROPE IN THE 18 TH CENTURY I. Agriculture and the land A. By 1700 in most regions of Europe most people faced frequent famine and an agricultural system not much changed since the days of ancient Greece. B. The openfield system 1. The openfield system, developed during the Middle Ages, divided the land into a few large fields, which were then cut up into long, narrow strips. 2. The fields were farmed jointly by the community, but a large portion of the arable land was always left fallow. 3. Common lands were set aside for community use. 4. The labor and tax system throughout Europe was unjust, but eastern European peasants suffered the most. a. There were few limitations on the amount of forced labor the lord could require. b. Serfs could be sold. 5. By the eighteenth century most peasants in western Europe were free from serfdom, and many owned some land. C. The agricultural revolution 1. It was not possible for the peasants to increase their landholdings by taking land from the rich landowners. 2. The use of idle fallow land by crop rotation increased cultivation, which meant more food. a. The secret was in alternating grain crops with nitrogenstoring crops, such as peas and beans, root crops, and grasses. b. This meant more fodder for animals, which meant more meat for the people and more manure for fertilizer. c. These improvements necessitated ending the openfield system by "enclosing" the fields. 3. Enclosure of the open fields also meant the disappearance of common land which hurt the small landholders and village poor. a. Many peasants and some noble landowners opposed these changes. b. The enclosure process was slow, and enclosed and open fields existed side by side for a long time. c. Only in the Low Countries and England was enclosure widespread. D. The leadership of the Low Countries and England 1. By the middle of the seventeenth century, the Low Countries led in intensive farming. a. This Dutch lead was due largely to the need to feed a growing population....
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