Immigration in Medieval England

I don’t so much care to discuss current immigration politics, but since that is all the news is covering lately, I thought it would be interesting to look up what immigration was like in England during the Middle Ages. The following article from medievalists.net references England particularly during the 14th – 16th centuries. This period was after the Black Death when the population across Europe was significantly lower and there was a lot more work available.

According to research provided by the Universities of York and Sheffield, approximately 1% of the population of England during this time was made up of immigrants. Today that number is approximately 12% according to this study.

About one out of every hundred people in late medieval England was an immigrant, according to researchers at the universities of York and Sheffield. They have also launched a new database that offers details about 65,000 immigrants who lived in England between 1330 and 1550.

The England’s Immigrants project was created by these universities with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). It is led by Mark Ormrod, of the University of York’s Centre for Medieval Studies.

The database offers information on the names, origins, occupations and households of a significant number of foreigners who chose to live and work in England during the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries…

Read the full article at medievalists.net, which also provides links to the research database and other articles of interest.

Podcast Planet Money, Episode 742: Making Bank

From NPR:

During the Middle Ages, Christian pilgrims en route to Jerusalem had a problem. They needed to pay for food, transport and accommodation during their journey across Europe, which could take months. They also didn’t want to carry large amounts of precious coinage because they’d become a target for robbers. This became an obstacle to worship.

That’s where the Knights Templar stepped in. The Knights Templar were a bunch powerful monks who defended Christian pilgrims. They had a solution to this cash issue. Pilgrims could leave money safely protected with the Knights Templar in England and withdraw it in Jerusalem. No cash needed. Pilgrims could just carry a letter of credit. It was basically a private bank before there was anything else like it. This was a pretty modern idea.

Listen to the full podcast.

Ancient hand grenade from the Crusades

Not sure how I missed this story back in August.

A centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the crusaders is among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel.

The metal artifacts, some of which are more than 3,500 years old, were found over a period of years by the late Marcel Mazliah, a worker at the Hadera power plant in northern Israel.

Mazliah’s family recently presented the treasures to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Experts, who were surprised by the haul, think that the objects probably fell overboard from a medieval metal merchant’s ship.

The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era, which began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13th century, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Grenades were also used 12th and 13th century Ayyubid period and the Mamluk era, which ran from the 13th to the 16th century, experts say.

Read more from Fox News.

(Photographic credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Six famous viking leaders

From History.com:

The Viking Age, from the late-eighth century to the 11th century, produced pioneering explorers such as Erik the Red, who founded Greenland’s first Norse settlement, along with powerful kings such as Cnut the Great, who ruled a vast empire in northern Europe.

The six Norsemen listed in the article are as follows:

Learn more.

I have internal links on my site in the list above to more info on Cnut the Great and Harald Hardrada as I have researched them a bit more since they were around the time of the Norman Conquest of England. Most of my focus over the years of independent study has been during that period of English/French/Norse history.

Medieval books and Kindle Unlimited

I’ve had Kindle Unlimited now for about a year, and even though I don’t get a chance to read as much as I would like, I definitely think it’s worth $9.99 a month, especially if you’re an avid reader. Ideally, I wish it was maybe $5.99 or $6.99 a month, but if you read just one book a month, you’ve basically made up the $9.99 cost. I suppose you could argue that you could just go to the library and check out the books for free, but the library also doesn’t have the vast amount of titles that Kindle Unlimited seems to have. Also, you could use the lending library feature of Amazon but I think that only gives you access to one book at a time, whereas with Unlimited you can have up to 10 books at a time before having to turn one in.

With that said, I’m trying to keep track of medieval books I run across that i might want to read later. I plan to start posting my findings here on my site. Since I was recently reading about the Third Reich and how the First Reich began with the reign of Charlemagne, I thought I would see what books Kindle Unlimited has regarding Charlemagne. Doing a brief search for Charlemagne filtered only by Kindle Unlimited books, I came across this listing.

The Holy Roman Empire and the seeds of the Third Reich

Everyone is familiar with Hitler and the Third Reich, but why was it called the Third Reich? What were the First and Second Reichs?

We have to travel all the way back to the Middle Ages and the time of Charlemagne to find the seeds of what would eventually become the Third Reich under Hitler’s Germany.

The year 800 Christmas Day is the general date believed that ushered in the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. On this day, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne king of the empire. The territory covered much of western and central Europe and would last for over a thousand years. Charlemagne’s empire was vast and prominent during his lifetime, fell off somewhat after his death, but then was reinvigorated by Otto I around 962. This date of 962 is used by other historians to mark the date of the founding of the Holy Roman Empire. Whatever the actual date may be, it certainly had its roots in the crowning of Charlemagne, and in effect would last — at least in memory — up until the time of Adolf Hitler.

Part of Hitler wanted to resurrect the prominence of the Holy Roman Empire, to create an empire that would perpetuate the German master race throughout the entire world. He took a much closer example of this power and unification seen in the Prussian Empire in the 19th century during the Hohenzollern dynasty period. Prominent figures leading the rise to power of imperial Germany during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were Wilhelm I, Wilhelm II, and Otto Von Bismark. This was the Second Reich.

And out of the turmoil and chaos of World War I, the seeds that had been planted long ago, the idea of a powerful German state, of imperial dominance of Europe and the world, founded in the reign of Charlemagne, the state of the Third Reich and Nazi Germany came to fruition and burst forth from the smoldering ashes of a collapsed but proud nation.

And the world would never be the same.

The truth behind medieval chivalry

From Kathleen McGarvey, University of Rochester:

Our popular ideas of the chivalric world are off base, according to historian Richard Kaeuper. The gallant knights on horseback and banners unfurling before exciting tournaments largely come from people in the 19th century who saw the Middle Ages through a romantic haze.

Chivalry was a violent, often grisly, phenomenon. “It’s hands-on cutting and thrusting. It’s a very bloody profession, and [people from the last several centuries] admire it to excess,” says Kaeuper, a professor at the University of Rochester. But he also insists that chivalry is more than a timeless warrior code.

Read more…

Who were the Vikings?

From the Jorvik Viking Center. A collection of quick, historical articles detailing the lives of the Norsemen. Subjects cover:

  • Who were the Vikings?
  • Where did they come from?
  • What did they look like?
  • How did they live?
  • What happened to them?
  • Place names
  • Timeline

Excerpt from “Who were the Vikings?”

Often the name Viking conjures images of brutes and barbarians, but the truth is a little different.

Vikings were warriors. More precisely ‘Viking’ is the name by which the Scandinavian sea-borne raiders of the early medieval period are now commonly known.

Even before the earliest Viking raids on the monasteries, the Anglo-Saxons used an Old English word ‘wicing‘. But this was not a word that they used often or exclusively for the Scandinavian raiders; instead it was used for all-comers and meant ‘pirate’ or ‘piracy’.

Discover more about the Vikings at the Jorvik Viking Center site.

Vikings traded first, plundered later

From Live Science:

The Viking Age may not have started with the plundering of England, but with the peaceful trading of handcrafted combs made out of reindeer antlers, a new study suggests.

Until now, researchers thought the Viking Age began in June 793, when Norwegian Vikings raided Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England. But new research suggests Vikings were traveling from Norway to Ribe, one of Scandinavia’s earliest towns and a lively trading center on the west coast of Denmark, as early as 725, the researchers said.

Read more…

 

Ghostly faces and invisible verse found in medieval King Arthur text

From Fox News:

Ghostly faces and lines of verse previously invisible to the naked eye have been uncovered in the oldest surviving medieval manuscript written entirely in Welsh.

“The Black Book of Carmarthen,” dating to 1250, contains texts from the ninth through 12th centuries, including some of the earliest references to Arthur and Merlin.

Read more…