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Facts about The Middle Ages or Medieval Period for Kids

The Middle ages or Medieval period began with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, and was followed by the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the traditional division of Western history into Classical, Medieval, and Modern periods.

  • In the Early Middle Ages, depopulation, deurbanization, and barbarian invasions, which began in Late Antiquity, continued.
  • In the 7th century North Africa and the Middle East, once part of the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire), became an Islamic Empire after conquest by Muhammad’s successors.
  • In the West, most kingdoms incorporated extant Roman institutions, while monasteries were founded as Christianity expanded in western Europe.
  • The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, established an empire covering much of western Europe; the Carolingian Empire endured until the 9th century, when it succumbed to the pressures of invasion—the Vikings from the north, the Magyars from the east, and the Saracens from the south.
  • During the High Middle Ages, which began after AD 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and crop yields to increase.
  • Manorialism—the organization of peasants into villages that owed rent and labor services to the nobles; and feudalism—the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords, in return for the right to rent from lands and manors—were two of the ways society was organized in the High Middle Ages.
  • The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts, by western European Christians, to regain control of the Middle Eastern Holy Land from the Muslims.
  • The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilization, or Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the modern period.
  • In the 430s the Huns began invading the empire; their king Attila led invasions into the Balkans in 442 and 447, Gaul in 451, and Italy in 452.
  • Byzantine emperors maintained a claim over the territory, and no barbarian king in the west dared to elevate himself to the position of Emperor of the West, but Byzantine control of most of the West could not be sustained; the reconquest of the Italian peninsula and Mediterranean periphery by Justinian was the sole, and temporary, exception.
  • With the invasions new ethnic groups entered parts of Europe, but the settlement was uneven, with some regions such as Spain having a larger settlement of new peoples than others.
  • The Latin of the Western Roman Empire was gradually replaced by languages based on, but distinct from, Latin, collectively known as romance languages.
  • The shape of European monasticism was determined by traditions and ideas that originated in the deserts of Egypt and Syria.