The Agricultural Revolution
--The Agricultural Revolution took place during the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe.
--Peasants and artisans had about the same standard of living as in the Middle Ages.
***Most people battled hunger and lacked sufficient clothing and decent housing***
--Agriculture had changed little since the Middle Ages.
***80% of western Europe's population were famers***
***Agricultural output was very low compared to modern standards. ***
The Medieval open field system was predominant in Europe.
--failed harvests occurred once or twice a decade, on average resulting in famines.
--people were malnourished, making them more susceptible to disease.
--Science was essentially a branch of theology and had no real application in agriculture.
--18th century agricultural reformers wanted to improve agriculture.
--Agricultural changes during the 18th century were possible due to Enclosures.
--The Agricultural reformer, Viscount Townshend, invented the Norfolk Rotation.
--The two crops that Townshend supported the use of was turnips and clover.
--Jethro Tull invented a seed drill.
--Robert Bakewell became famous for selective breeding.
--Bakewell hoped that by using selective breeding, he would get better wool and meat.
A strict hierarchical system emerged:
--a few landowners (gentry) dominated the economy and politics
--strong and prosperous tenant farmers rented land from the large landowners.
--some small peasant farmers owned their own land
--a huge number of peasants became wage earners on farms or in the cottage industry.
Struggles between landowners and peasants occurred:
--game laws were passed on behalf of landowners whereby any animals on owners' vast lands could not be hunted for food.
--peasants who were without food would risk severe punishment if they were caught hunting for food on an owner's land.
Enclosure did not spread significantly to western europe
--France did not develop enclosure as national policy and after the 1760s peasants in the provinces strongly opposed enclosure.
--Eastern Europe did not see fundamental agricultural changes until the 19th century.