Technology and The Crusades
Many people consider the Crusades as wars of bloodlust, greed, and power. War can be described as an escalated conflict, most commonly over money or other resources. The outcome of war is usually the advancement of one society due to its newly acquired resources or knowledge. If one were to look at the Crusades, and their original purpose, which was to assist Constantinople and free the Holy Land from Muslim control, then one may make the conclusion that the Crusades failed. Although the Christians did not win over the Holy Land, Europe as a whole benefited greatly from the revival of East to West trade, and new inventions and innovations that arose during the time of the Crusades.
Before the Crusades,
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With everyone off in the East on expeditions, there were less people around to farm and harvest crops. People looked for an easier way to get things done. The widespread use of the heavy plow with iron coulter and plowshare and moldboard allowed cultivation of the fertile heavy clay lands of northern Europe. The invention of the horse collar and horseshoes made the replacement of oxen with horses for plowing and transport possible. Underlying all these innovations were improvements in mining and metallurgy that increased supplies and reduced the cost of iron. The period of time around the First Crusade also witnessed the widespread use of watermills and vertical post windmills, not only for grinding grain but for the production of iron, textiles, paper, and beer. The expansion of agricultural production encouraged and made possible the growth of towns, and increased trade. Flourishing textile industries arose in northern Italy. Regions became economically interdependent, for instance cloth makers in one region depended of wool that came from another region. During the thirteenth century the growth of international trade led to banking houses emerging in Italy which developed instruments of financial exchange. New inventions that sprung forth during the Crusades had long lasting effects on all of Europe, and virtually the entire known world