In what ways did the Black Death revolutionize the social and economic structure of Europe? How was the peasant revolutions related to these changes?.
By the middle of the 14th century, the largest cities of Europe were Paris, Florence, Venice, and Genoa. These were cities with populations in excess of 100,000 people. The plague, known as the Black Death, raged through all these cities killing anywhere between thirty and sixty percent. The death rate from the plague was erratic. In some cities, twenty percent of the people who got it died, while in other areas, one hundred percent died. Between thirty and thirty-five percent of Europe's population disappeared in the three years between 1347 and 1350. This meant about 20 million deaths out of an estimated population of 70 million. Then, the plague left nearly as quickly as it had appeared. By mid-1350, the plague had completed its devastation across the continent of Europe, wiping out whole villages, towns, and cities. Europe was in dire need of restructuring, replenishing, and restoring.
Europe's Economic and Social Decline .
The economy was probably hit the hardest of all the aspects of Europe. The biggest problem was that valuable artisan skills disappeared when large numbers of the working class died. Therefore, those who had skills became even more valuable than the rich people. The society structure began to change giving formally poor laborers more say. The peasants and artisans demanded higher wages. Serfs seeking liberation from tilling their lord's land were told by decree and statute to return to their master's duties. The poor people saw so much death they wanted to enjoy life. Serfs began to leave their land and not engage in the planting of crops. Unattended crops and stray animals died of starvation because of the lack of care. Several domesticated animals began to roam the forest. Farming communities became rare.