Feudal society. The estates of feudal society

The feudal society was considered almost a universal form of government for Eurasia. Most of the peoples who inhabited it went through this system. Next, let us examine in more detail what feudal society was itself.


Despite certain changes in the relationship between the consumer and the producer, the latter remained in absolute dependence on the former. The feudal slave society was based on a certain way of doing business. The immediate producer had his own farm. However, he remained dependent as a slave. Coercion was expressed in rent. It could be represented in the form of corvee (salary), dues (products) or expressed in money. The size of the rent was firmly established. This gave the immediate producer some freedom in the conduct of his economic activities. These features of feudal society were particularly pronounced in the transition to monetary compulsory payments. In this case, the freedom of the farmer was expressed in the ability to sell their products.

Signs of feudal society

One can single out the characteristic features of such a society:

  • Prevalence of subsistence farming;
  • A combination of small peasant land use and large feudal land tenure;
  • Personal dependence of the direct producer. Non-economic forced labor and product distribution;
  • Routine and obsolete state of technology;
  • Availability of rental relations (compulsory payments were made for the use of land).

However, the specific features of feudal society were also noticeable:

  • The predominance of a worldview of a religious nature (in this historical period the church played a special role);
  • Feudal society was distinguished by a broad development of corporate organizations;
  • Hierarchical structure ;
  • There were estates of feudal society.

Classic model

The most clearly feudal society was developed in France. However, this system extended more to the state, rather than the economic structure of the country. Nevertheless, it was in France that the estates of the feudal society were very clearly formed. They were presented in the form of a vassal ladder. Its economic meaning was concluded in the redistribution of coercive payments between the layers of the ruling class. By order of the suzerain, the vassals collected the militia at their own expense. It guarded the limits and represented, in fact, the apparatus for non-economic coercion of the peasants. Such a system, according to which there was a feudal society, often failed. As a result, France became a platform for national and internecine wars. It was especially difficult for the country to experience the consequences of the war with England in the 14th and 15th centuries. However, it was this war that accelerated the liberation of the peasants from dependence. This was due to the fact that the king needed soldiers. The free peasants could become a resource for the mass mercenary army with artillery. Despite the introduction of the ransom, the economic situation of dependent people did not actually improve, as taxes and redemption payments replaced feudal rent.

Agricultural specialization

It should be noted that already by the 14th century France divided conditionally into several zones. For example, the central and northern parts of it were considered the main granary, the southern part - the base of winemaking. At the same time, the superiority of one of the areas in the economic plan began to manifest itself. In particular, in the northern France began to establish a three-field system.

Features of development of the economy of England

The feudal society of this country had several differences from the French system. In England, the centralization of government was more pronounced. This was due to the conquest of the country by the feudal lords in 1066. A general census was carried out. She showed that the structure of feudal society with estates was built by that time. However, unlike the French, English owners were vassals directly to the king. The next feature, which possessed the English feudal society, concerns the technological basis of the estate itself. Favorable coastal ecology contributed to the active development of sheep breeding and the production of raw wool. The latter was the subject of great demand on the territory of the whole medieval Europe. The sale of wool, which was carried out not only by the feudal lords, but also by the peasants, contributed to the replacement of serf labor by hired labor, and of natural obrok by a rent in money equivalent (commutation).

Crucial moment

In 1381 there was a popular uprising led by Wat Tyler. As a result, almost complete commutation took place, and afterwards peasants bought their own feudal obligations. Almost all dependent people became personally-free by the 15th century. They were divided into two categories: copy-holders and freeholds. The former paid rent for allotments, while the latter were considered absolutely free holders of land. Thus, a gentry was formed-a new nobility-that led economic activity only on wage labor.

Development of the system in Germany

In this country, the structure of the feudal society was formed later than in France and England. The matter is that separate areas of Germany were separated from each other, in connection with this the united state did not work out. Of no less importance were the seizures of the Slavic lands by the German feudal lords. This contributed to a significant increase in the area under cultivation. Over time, internal territorial colonization began to develop among the peasants to the east of the Elbe. They were granted preferential terms and minimal dependence on feudal lords. However, in the 15th century, the owners of the estates of the eastern part of Germany took advantage of the export of bread to England and Holland through the Baltic ports and carried out the absolute enslavement of the privileged peasants. The hosts created extensive shrouds and transferred them to corvee. The term "land beyond the Elbe" began to symbolize the development of late feudalism.

Features of the development of the system in Japan

The economy of this country had many differences from the European one. First of all, there was no master's scent in Japan. Consequently, here there was neither corvee nor serfdom. Secondly, the national economy of Japan operated within the framework of feudal disunity that had developed over many centuries. The country was dominated by small peasant farms based on hereditary possession of land. It, in turn, belonged to the feudal lords. As a rent, there was a natural ritual in the form of rice. Due to feudal fragmentation, many principalities were formed. They were attended by service troops, which consisted of samurai-knights. As a reward for the service, the soldiers received a rice ration from the princes. Their estates were not possessed by samurai. As for the Japanese cities, there was a feudal system in them, as well as in Europe. Artisans were united in shops, merchants in guilds. Trade was quite weak. The absence of a single market was explained by feudal disunity. Japan was closed to foreigners. Manufactories in the country were in embryo.

Features of the device system in Russia

Classes of feudal society took shape quite late compared with other countries. In the 15th century a service army appeared. It was made up of landlords (nobles). They were owners of estates and at their own expense every summer sent to the forced service. By the autumn they were let go home. The transfer of estates was carried out from father to son by inheritance. In accordance with the Council of Bishops of 1649, peasants were permanently attached to the possessions on whose territory they lived, becoming serfs. In Europe, by this time, many of the representatives of this class became free. As a duty, labor rent served. In the 17th century, corvee could last up to 4 days a week. By the second half of the 16th century, the formation of large regional markets began, and by the 17th century trade ties acquired a national scale. In the north-western part of the state, Novgorod became the center. He was an aristocratic republic, dominated by rich classes of feudal society. Their representatives, in particular, were merchants and landowners (boyars). The bulk of the Novgorod population consisted of "black people" - artisans. Among the most important livestock markets of the time is Yaroslavl, Vologda, Kazan. The main trade center of the whole state was Moscow. Furs, silk, wool products, metal products, bread, lard and other foreign and domestic goods were sold here.

Credit development

Natural economy was the main form of conducting activities. This was an early feudal society. Capitalist production began to emerge on the basis of simple cooperation, and then manufactory. In the maintenance of simple commodity turnover, money began to participate. These funds participated in the movement of usurious and merchant capital. Banks began to emerge. Originally they were a depository of money. Developed a miscellaneous business. Since the 18th century, settlements for merchant operations began to spread. In connection with the increase in the needs of the states, the budget began to be formed.

Market relations

The development of foreign and domestic trade was significantly influenced by the growth of cities in Western European territory. They formed, first of all, the local market. Here, the products of urban and rural artisans were exchanged. In the 14-15th centuries uniform markets began to be formed. They became in some way economic centers of feudal states. Among the largest are London and Paris. At the same time, domestic trade was rather poorly developed. This was due to the natural nature of the economy. In addition, the development of domestic trade was slowed by fragmentation, because of which duties were collected in each seigniorium. Merchants of a certain type of merchandise were united in a guild. These closed associations regulated the rules and composition of the market turnover.

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