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Medieval Europe, also called the Middle Ages, came after the Roman Empire fell apart.  
Life became
dark and miserable.  People lived somewhere on the continent of Europe. Many mountains provided natural barriers and safety.  The many rivers provided food, fresh water, and travel.  The most fertile land was the North European Plain.  The continent forms a peninsula which means it has water on three sides.  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.  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.  

Eventually, the idea of FEUDALISM started.  Feudalism was based on loyalty.  Each group was loyal to the group above.  This system kept people safe.  The people were interdependent.  This means they relied on each other for survival.  They all lived on a manor.   A manor is a small village that had everything needed to live.  There is a picture on your study guide.  Click the people link to read about all the people who lived on the manor.

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