Explain how the bubonic plague could be viewed as one cause of the Renaissance in Europe.

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The spread of yersinia pestis from China to Europe via the Mongols along the silk route into Europe killed an estimated thirty to sixty percent of fourteenth-century Europeans, marking the low point of fourteenth-century globalization.

In the mostly agricultural Kingdom of Naples, landowners often succeeded in maintaining feudal farming institutions...

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The spread of yersinia pestis from China to Europe via the Mongols along the silk route into Europe killed an estimated thirty to sixty percent of fourteenth-century Europeans, marking the low point of fourteenth-century globalization.

In the mostly agricultural Kingdom of Naples, landowners often succeeded in maintaining feudal farming institutions despite the disruption to the labor market and society. Naples had the largest agglomeration of poor people in Europe so perhaps the ready supply of surplus labor helped landowners maintain the status quo ante.

The northern republics of Genoa, Venice, Florence, Sienna, Pisa, and the Duchy of Milan, by way of contrast, were much more urbanized and economically diversified with well-developed international trade networks and manufacturing. Wages rose for workers because of high demand and short supply and creativity in problem-solving did too. Landowners could lease their land for cash if they lacked the labor to farm it or turn to less labor-intensive animal husbandry. In any event, the response to the Black Death in the urban centers was very different from the response in the more feudal agricultural south.

The more widely shared wealth generated in the northern city-states led to a broadly shared culture of discriminating consumption that included not just luxurious material goods like silks, brocades, and spices but also secular knowledge of philosophy, science, classical art, architecture, and literature. The surplus capital plus an unusually sophisticated knowledge of how to spend it well led to very different outcomes in their respective responses to the plague in the north and south. In short, the south remained rural and poor while the north intensified its industry and trade. The wealth generated by the prosperous urban center of Florence, in particular, led to the flowering of science and arts patronage that we know as the Renaissance.

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The basic answer here is that the Black Death caused such a huge upheaval in medieval society that the Renaissance was able to emerge from the chaos.

The Bubonic Plague, of course, killed huge numbers of people.  This led to such things as shortages of labor.  When labor was in short supply, the laborers (who were, of course, from the lower classes) were able to demand better wages and more favorable terms for selling their work.  This helped to overthrow the old system in which the working classes were completely subjugated.

In addition, the Black Death led to the breakdown of old ways of thinking.  This is only natural given the circumstances.  When such a huge proportion of the population dies and no one can understand it or do anything about it, faith in the old ways will naturally diminish.

By undermining the old social structures and the old ways of thinking, the Bubonic Plague helped to lead to the Renaissance.

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