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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson E: Rise of Early Europe

Activity 2: Changes to the Feudal World

You have learned about the various reasons for the decline of feudalism in Europe during the end of the Medieval Period.

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Classroom Activity - Empires

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Directions: Individually: Choose two events from this list that you feel are related by cause and effect. Think about which event caused the other and why and write an explanation.

In pairs: share your cause and effect explanations. Discuss the connections between the both sets of events. Do you both agree that one event cause the other? Can you both explain how and why? Revise your explanation if necessary. Once consensus is achieved, share your cause-effect relation with the class. Follow your teacher's directions to participate in your class discussion.

  • Growth of Markets and Towns
  • Long Distance Trade
  • Black Death
  • Hundred Years War
  • Colder Climate and Weather Changes
  • Declining Harvests and Use of Manors
  • Large Population Decline and Social Disorder
  • Discontented Peasant Soldiers
  • Challenges to the Power of Monarchs
  • Fewer Peasants Participate in Farming
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Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


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The end of the feudal system also reflected important shifts in the economic and political features of Europe. The development of towns and transportation routes to and from ports on the coast supported the expansion of travel and trade on land and water. The map of Europe also changed to reflect the creation of large, more distinct states. These states made it easier for ruling monarchs and governments to control taxes and wage wars of conquest across the region and soon the world. In the next activity, read about the emergence of royal monarchies.