The crusade era was also termed as the era of commercial revolution in England, since it changed the economy from being a traditional economy to a market economy. During the crusade period economies were self sufficient and traditional, the Englishmen grew crops and manufactured goods in a manor system, however this is also the period when they discovered better ways such as the horse power, three field systems and the iron plow to produce food and be more efficient; all of this lead to a surplus in food production and the growth of economy.
This research is based on the wars fought by the Englishmen to recover and acquire land that would make England rich and powerful, more specifically it aims at exploring how this crusade impacted the country's economy. In a bid to address this question the research first of all introduces the two main topics that are the crusades and the England economy, finally the impact of the crusade on the England economy will also be spelt out before the paper concludes.
Economy of England
During the era of crusades or the medieval ages in the period of 11th-15th century, England reportedly relied upon the wool industry for its economy and it was even the largest exporter of wool in Europe back then. The wool sector was the source of development for major ports and towns within the country; however poor infrastructural facilities hindered the development of the large scale industry sector but this was later to change in the period of 18th -19th century as the railway systems and canals were developed.
According to (Aberth, 56-78) the development of the transport system in England in the 18th century, positioned the country to become the first industrialized country in the world. Depending upon its colonies such as Canada, Australia, America and India the nation was able to get raw materials it didn't produce such as tobacco and cotton and it would then manufacture goods out of these raw materials and then re-sell them to other emerging markets. The flourishing trade resulted to the development of large industrial centers and cities in the Northern region of the country and in the Midlands.
It is important to note that in the 20th century heavy industries such as, ship building, steel production and coal mining declined as the service and technology industries such as pharmaceutical and computer industry rose. Currently the service industry is the largest sector of the economy in the country and the city of London is reportedly currently the world's largest financial centre.
The era of crusades in England
According to (Abulafia, 156-183) during the middle ages or the era of crusades, England was not as mighty as it is today, it was a small nation, poverty stricken and it had a deficiency in natural resources. The kings of England back then perceived it to be a resource centre for man power, and thou it was financial unstable it was still able to organize a larger army than any other country like France could, this army was trained to fight in France and across the continent.
The Kings of England during the era of crusades were also known as the Duke of Normandy, at other times they were also referred to as the Duke of Gascony, Count of Anjou and (Astill and John, 234-253) stated in their studies that the Kings also held titles which meant that they had promised to fight for and be loyal to the French King in exchange for the right to hold on to their land The crusades were mainly called for in the middle ages to defend territories of England against invasion, rebellion and hostility from unfriendly nations, this meant that much of the English wealth, energies and time were spent of crusades. However, it is important to note that only King Richard I went on a crusade while the other never lived to their vows to go take part in active crusades.
The notable Kings during this era were William II who ruled in the period of 1087-1100, Henry I of 1100-1135, King Stephen of 1135-1154, Henry II of 1154-1189, Richard I OF 1189-1199, John of 1199-1216, Henry III of 1216- 1272 and lastly Edward I of 1272-1307.
Impact of crusades on the economy
According to (Barron, 101-109) the key major impact of the crusades to England was the opening up of the country to other countries and trade routes which resulted to an increase in trade between England and other countries, this saw Englishmen engage in trading activities as a source of their livelily hood and they also produced goods. The economy experienced growth in business and food security since other trading partners could supplement in food supply when it was insufficient.
(Bartlett, 1023-1038) in his studies attribute the development of the World monetary economics to England, which was also the pioneer for the money system and the banking industry. The crusades lead to the development of the modern banking in England as people began to exchange credits for goods and services, the banks were establish in order to stabilize the money sources. The crusades also lead to the development of almost five hundred towns since Englishmen now relied on trading and business as source of their livelihood. The middle class economy also grew as feudalism system declined and on the other hand, money came to be viewed as a source of power, this was later to be known as the foundation of modern day capitalism.
The crusade era was also the age of exploration and the development of the mercantile system by the Englishmen this positively impacted the country's economy as Kings of England appointed sailors and explorers who were mandated to find new and quicker methods of trading with the East (Dobbin, 432-449).
Since the crusades largely depended on finances in order to accomplish their mission, the Kings had a well established taxation system of which they could collect revenues from fines, profits earned in re-minting coins, customs and land taxes.
(Blanchard, 323-333) noted in his studies that the period of 12th and 13th century which was also the mid-medieval era saw England experience a tremendous economic growth and its' total population count increased from 1.5 million five million people in that period, this resulted to the already mentioned increase in agricultural production and exportation of raw materials to other neighboring countries.
The crusades lead to the development of the mining industry, since trade was on the rise and more metals were needed for the construction industry, more so the ship building industry which was engaged in constructing ships for exploration purposes. The increase in population also meant that more money i.e. The coins, had to be minted more in order to satisfy the demand and supply of money in the growing economy. It is important to note that the main four minerals that were mined for commercial purpose in this era were silver, lead, tin and iron (Bolton, 89-93).
The concept of charter fairs was also developed during this era and most notably was the period of 1200 to 1270 where reportedly two thousand two hundred charter fairs were released. The charter fairs which lasted at least for four days allowed consumers to interact with merchants and this apparently contributed to the success of international wool trade that originated from England. Some of these fairs grew to become international events such as the St. Ives fair usually held in Easters, the Boston fair held in July and the Stamford fair that is held in lent.
The rise of London city as an economic hub for England can also be attributed to the crusade era. Back then the Kings established the city as centre were luxury goods and services were produced and consumed and as early as 1170 London produced exotic products such as furs, gems, incense, palm oil, spices and foreign weapons (Hatcher, 289-301).
The kings of England made vows that they would lead and participate in crusades, and the main aim of these crusades as portrayed by this research was to make the country richer and powerful in the continent. This quest resulted into wars, formation of new alliances and the establishment of trade and business relation with other countries. England once perceived to be a poor country that lacked sufficient natural resources was able to rise and become a rich and a powerful nation due to these crusades (Hinton, 67-81).
However, in the current World economy England is not a giant as it was back in the crusades era since currently the United States of America has taken the lead while England is still best known for its' developed financial sector.
Aberth, John. From the Brink of the Apocalypse: Confronting Famine, War, Plague and Death in the Later middle Ages. London: Routledge. Press, 2001
Abulafia, David. The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1198-c. 1300. Cambridge: Cambridge University…