Western European Agricultural Advances


European Agricultural Advances

Over the course of world history, there
have been many factors that have changed the course of Western European
history. Two of those main factors were the inventions of the chest harness
for the horse and the three-field system of agriculture.

The harness for the horses of the early
middle ages was poorly designed and needed to be changed. The early harnesses
were used around the horses neck. This led to strangulation of the horses
while pulling the plow. Obviously, these early harnesses needed to be designed
better to better put the use of the power and speed of the horse. This
change came about in the early 900’s. An invention was made that
allowed the harness to be placed around the horses chest. This new invention
prevented horses from being strangled, which allowed for faster plowing
and greater food production.

Around the same time as the chest harness’
invention, medieval villagers were organizing their land into a two field
system of agriculture. This system utilized one large field divided in
half, one half of a field with crops and left the other half of a
field was left unplanted for a year so as not to exhaust the soil.

This system led to problems, because dividing the land in half led to shortages
in the production of food because only half of the field was being used.

This system of agriculture needed some minor adjustments to increase the
production of food without destroying the soil in the process. This new
system came about around the year 800. Farmers began to use a new system,
the three-field system, to farm their crops. The three field system used
one large field like it’s earlier counterpart. The only change, was that
the field was divided into three fields. Instead of only getting food from
one half of your land, you could use two-thirds of the land to produce
your own food. The direct result was a greater food production.

Both of these agricultural inventions
forever changed the course of western European history. Using the three
field system allowed for the villagers to have more to eat because of the
amount of food produced. They produced more of the foods that are good
sources of proteins which led to decreased sickness and disease. This led
to the increase in the population of Western Europe. People were now able
to raise larger families. With the new and improved harnesses on the horses,
horses could now plow quicker. A farmer could start farming more land quicker
because of the faster plowing methods. This led to even more food being
produced, also increasing the population.

These two inventions, brought together,
forever changed the course of European history. They increased fertile
land growth, increased the population, help to try and prevent disease
and sickness with better foods and increased food production tremendously.