How did the rise of trade affect feudalism?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the rise of trade in the medieval period did not account for the decline of feudalism, it did have some implications on feudal relationships. Under feudalism, peasant farmers, or serfs, were tied to their lord and obliged to work on his land, often giving him a percentage of produce and obliged to use his grain mills and oven. If a serf traded outside of this agreement, he risked harsh penalties, like a hefty fine, which was often a huge burden for serfs. In this respect, feudalism completely discouraged trade and commerce. It relied on this exploitative relationship, based on loyalty and duty, for its survival and was threatened by any form of economic growth, among the serfs in particular. 

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