Renaissance Research Article from The Way People Live

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Throughout the Renaissance, approximately 80 percent of the people lived in small rural villages, typically with populations of less than one hundred, and spaced fifteen miles or more apart. According to historian William Manchester, "In the early 1500s one could hike through the woods for days without encountering a settlement of any size." However, only a few people owned land; the majority paid rent to an aristocratic landlord under a system of services and obligations called manorialism.

Manorialism

Manorialism had its roots in the Middle Ages. At that time, feudalism was the prevailing social structure, which meant that monarchs gave their knights land in exchange for their services during battle. As the military elite, these nobles had a great deal of power, and peasants often needed the protection of a noble to survive. They therefore bound themselves as serfs to a member of the aristocracy, farming his land in exchange...

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This section contains 3,850 words
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Buy the Renaissance Encyclopedia Article
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