Medieval Europe was plagued by various social and economic problems. War, famine and disease were found all across Europe and were major contributors to the social and economic crisis that the medieval era endured. One of the biggest contributors, the Black Death, had major negative implications. Beginning to strike during the mid-fourteenth century, the disease is estimated that it killed about one third of Western Europe's population. While its negative effects were numerous throughout every class in society, the Black Death affected each social class differently. The wealthy class, the impoverished class, and the clergy class were all affected differently. The Black Death added to the problems of medieval Europe.
The Black Death affected the wealthy class less directly than other social classes. In document thirteen, Samuel Pepys writes that no one bought wigs anymore for fear of infection. Wigs were a style during this era among the rich and powerful. While this document only alludes to the loss of wigs, there were other small pleasures that the wealthy class lost. Some of these small pleasures were lost due to the fact that they were no longer available; others were lost because of the paranoia that set into peoples" lives. Wigs were still available to the wealthy, but because of the fear of contracting this deadly disease, the wealthy gave them up. This is an example of the change in the lifestyle of the wealthy. Document fourteen refers to a subject that also affected the rich. Many of the wealthy men owned trading companies, or owned companies largely based on exports and imports. The Black Death caused a large decline in commerce because people did not want the disease to spread from port to port. For many of the wealthy men that depended on commerce for their source of income, their profits decreased. The decline of trade also caused many things not to be available to the wealthy class anymore such as the small pleasures, which have been alluded to previously.