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Introducing The Problem The Little Divergence Within Europe, 1400-1800

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Chapter Summary

The European boom from 900 to 1300 may have arguably been its most remarkable period of expansion before the industrialization of the Europe in the nineteenth century. The divergence between the North Sea area and the rest of Western Europe is very clear from evidence on the long-term development of real wages from 1400-1800. In terms of political economy, England was a typical 'feudal' state: besides the king, the nobility held most political authority, while the cities were relatively weak, both for institutional reasons and because the level of urbanization was relatively low. The economic structure of the two parts of the North Sea region were to a large extent complementary, and perhaps they should be considered a single integrated economic system in which the centre of gravity was shifting from Flanders via Brabant and Holland to England.

Keywords: integrated economic system; North Sea region; political economy; Western Europe



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