Last Updated 12/9/2007
In the 1000s-1100s the population began to grow.
Farmers were growing more food.
The number of foreign invaders had declined.
A retreat in polar ice had caused good weather.
Many peasants left the fields to work in the village.
They began to produce products.
Nobles began to trade western products for luxury goods from the esst.
Sugar, spices, silk, and dyes.
Trading centers developed on sea routes.
The sea routes connected western Europe with the Mediterranean, Russia, and Scandinavia.
Two of the earliest and most important trading centers were Venice and Flanders.
Venice was an island port in the Mediterranean Sea.
It was near the coast of Italy.
It was founded in the 500s, by people fleeing from Germans.
Made their living from the sea.
They traded salted fish for wheat from Italy.
They traded with the Byzantines.
They exported wheat, wine, and slaves.
They traded for fabrics and spices.
In the 1100s, Venice became a leading port.
Many Venetians became merchants.
They learned to read and write.
They learned to use money and keep records.
Eventually the had a banking system.
Italian towns began to make cloth.
They sent the cloth to Vencie to be shipped.
Other Italian towns became shipping centers.
The Italian navy removed the Muslims from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Near East was open to Europe.
Italian trading towns argued about money and trade routes.
European Atlantic coast towns soon developed trade routes.
By 1530, they were more powerful than Italian towns.
Was an area in modern Belgium of small towns.
The Flemish raised sheep.
They used the wool to weave cloth.
Flemish cloth was famous an in demand.
Flemish people built harbors where their rivers met the Atlantic.
They shipped their cloth to other lands.
Flanders became a stopping place for ships along the Atlantic trade route.
It was an important link in the Constantinople to the North Sea trade route.
by 1300, England was a trading partner of Flanders.
Flemish traders brought wool from England to be made into Flemish cloth.
The finished cloth was then shipped back to England.
Flanders developed an international business.
Greenblatt, M. and Lemmo, P.S. "Human Heritage." Glencoe McGraw-Hill, New York, New York 2001.