In what ways did the Black Death (1348-1349) influence or even change the British culture, language, society and economy?

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The Black Death fundamentally changed the whole nature of English society and the economy. This deadly plague wiped out large swathes of the rural population, leading to a dramatic shortage in agricultural labor. Those fortunate enough to have survived this appalling catastrophe were therefore in a position to command higher wages.

Furthermore, the deaths of so many nobles meant that an increasing number of peasants were no longer tied to the land. If those nobles who had survived the Black Death were unwilling or unable to pay higher wages, then their peasants could seek their fortunes in the growing towns instead. In that sense, one could say that the Black Death made a significant contribution to the decline of the social system known as feudalism and its gradual replacement with capitalism.

Although England would remain a predominantly rural country for centuries to come, its growing urbanization in the wake of the Black Death was already changing the whole nature of society. From now on, the towns would come to enjoy greater importance, dictating to a large extent the development of the English economy. Over centuries, this movement from village to town would help lay the foundations of what would become the Industrial Revolution.

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