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Mail@liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在 www.liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在在在在在在在在在在,在在在在在在在在在在 Seventeenth-Century European Economic Growth
In the late sixteenth century and into the seventeenth, Europe continued the growth that had lifted it out of the relatively less prosperous medieval period (from the mid 400s to the late 1400s). Among the key factors behind this growth were increased agricultural productivity and an expansion of trade.
Populations cannot grow unless the rural economy can produce enough additional food to feed more people. During the sixteenth century, farmers brought more land into cultivation at the expense of forests and fens (low
lying wetlands). Dutch land reclamation in the Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries provides the most spectacular example of the expansion of farmland: the Dutch reclaimed more than 36.000 acres from 1590 to 1615 alone.
Much of the potential for European economic development lay in what at first glance would seem to have been only sleepy villages. Such villages, however, generally lay in regions of relatively advanced agricultural production, permitting not only the survival of peasants but also the accumulation of an agricultural surplus for investment. They had access to urban merchants, markets, and trade routes.
Increased agricultural production in turn facilitated rural industry, an intrinsic part of the expansion of industry. Woolens and textile manufacturers, in particular, utilized rural cottage (inhome) production, which took advantage of cheap and plentiful rural labor. In the German states, the ravages of the Thirty Years' War (1618
1648) further moved textile production into the countryside. Members of poor peasant families spun or wove cloth and linens at home for scant remuneration in an attempt to supplement meager family income.
More extended trading networks also helped develop Europe's economy in this period. English and Dutch ships carrying rye from the Baltic states reached Spain and Portugal. Population growth generated an expansion of smallscale manufacturing, particularly of handicrafts, textiles, and metal production in England, Flanders, parts of northern Italy, the southwestern German states, and parts of Spain. Only iron smelting and mining required marshaling a significant amount of capital (wealth invested to create more wealth).
The development of banking and other financial services contributed to the expansion of...
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- Fall '13