Medieval Europe, also called the Middle Ages, came after the Roman Empire fell apart.
Many mountains provided natural barriers and safety. The many rivers provided food, fresh water, and travel. The continent also forms a peninsula which made for easy trade with others.
The most fertile land was the North European Plain and lots of farming was done here. Many areas across the continent had fertile areas to farm though. The climate is seasonal and the Gulf Stream brings warm ocean currents across the Atlantic Ocean. During the Middle Ages, forests covered the land, but most have been cleared now.
Families were starving and disease had spread at the end of the Roman empire. It was also dangerous. Invaders took over cities as soon as the Roman Legion (Army) gave up. Because of all the problems, aqueducts dried up or were clogged and no fresh water was available. People fled to the countryside to find a better life. Here they started subsistence farming which is growing only enough food for your family to survive. Building an empire again was not a concern, people were only concerned with survival.
Most people lived on a manor. The manor had everything needed. The noble family (Lord & Lady) lived in the castle which provided protection to everyone. Knights guarded the manor and kept it safe. Serfs (poor people) farmed the land and took shelter in the castle if under attack. In later years people moved back to larger cities. However, these cities were often noisy, crowded, and dirty. All the people were loyal to the king. However, there was more than one king during this time. Many small kingdoms had started and each one had its own king. Pledging your loyalty to the king and to people above you is called feudalism. We will read more about it this week.
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