Elizabeth Stewart

What is Feudalism?

  • Feudalism is an organized system of rule in which feudal lords would give land to vassals in exchange for military services and loyalty

  • Feudalism is based upon an exchange of land for protection, labor, loyalty and military services.

  • A feudal contract was usually signed by a feudal lord and a vassal, as a mean of exchanging pledges. For example the vassal would promise military services while the lord would promise land.


Peasants in the fields.
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How does feudalism work?

  • Kings were at the top of the feudal system. They divided their land among nobles who, in turn, provided them with military services.
  • The nobles, then, divided their land among knights who protected the land.
  • The knights had peasants on their land who worked in fields. The peasants provided everyone with food in the form of taxes.

Feudal Pyramid

The order of ranking in the feudal system.
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The Decline of Feudalism

  • Due to the increase in trade (caused by the Crusades), England moved from agricultural based economy to more of a money based economy.

  • More trade caused for the growth of more towns.

The Black Death

Reduced the English population by one-third, this made labor (which is crucial for feudalism) less available thus more valuable.
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