Synopses & Reviews
The Low Countries-an area roughly embracing the present-day Netherlands and Belgium-formed a patchwork of varied economic and social development in the Middle Ages, with some regions displaying a remarkable dynamism. Manors and Markets charts the history of these vibrant economies and societies, and contrasts them with alternative paths of development, from the early medieval period to the beginning of the seventeenth century.
Providing a concise overview of social and economic changes over more than a thousand years, Bas van Bavel assesses the impact of the social and institutional organization that saw the Low Countries become the most urbanized and densely populated part of Europe by the end of the Middle Ages. By delving into the early and high medieval history of society, van Bavel uncovers the foundations of the flourishing of the medieval Flemish towns and the forces that propelled Holland towards its Golden Age.
Exploring the Low Countries at a regional level, van Bavel highlights the importance of localized structures for determining the nature of social transitions and economic growth. He assesses the role of manorial organization, the emergence of markets, the rise of towns, the quest for self-determination by ordinary people, and the sharp regional differences in development that can be observed in the very long run. In doing so, the book offers a significant contribution to the debate about the causes of economic and social change, both past and present.
"Rich in detail...For any economic activity that took place in the medieval Low Countries, van Bavel's book will be the go-to source for a long time to come." --EH.net Reviews
About the Author
Bas (B.J.P.) van Bavel was born in Breda (the Netherlands) in 1964. After having worked as a lecturer, post-doctoral researcher, and visiting fellow at the universities of Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Ghent, in 2001 van Bavel was appointed as senior researcher at Utrecht University. He now works there as the research leader of a project sponsored by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, and also teaches at the Departments of History and Economics and at University College Utrecht. In 2007, he was appointed professor of Economic and Social History of the Middle Ages at Utrecht University.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: purpose, context, and approach
2. Land and occupation
3. Power, property, and social structures
4. Agriculture and industries
5. Markets in the high and late Middle Ages
6. Social change in the late Middle Ages
7. The economy in the late Middle Ages
8. Economic growth and social change in the long run