What happened in the 14th century definition characteristics

14th century

Period that runs from January 1, 1301 to December 31, 1400 AD. C. What happened in the 14th century?

The 14th century is the period from January 1, 1301 to December 31, 1400 AD. C. , according to the Gregorian calendar. According to the traditional periodization of history, it is the last full century of the Middle Ages .

In Europe it was a stage characterized by a great economic, demographic and social retraction, called by the historians crises of the fourteenth century . It began with 3 years in a row (1315-1317) of very low temperatures that caused crop losses and famines, and deepened with the spread of an outbreak of black or bubonic plague, which between 1347 and 1353 killed a third of the population European.

The death of millions of peasants left many manors without servile labor, diminished feudal rents, and opened the way for the hiring of rural workers through the payment of wages.

The 14th century was also marked by armed conflicts that caused thousands of deaths, such as the 100 Years’ War , the Castilian civil war and the Bulgarian-Ottoman war.

Within the Christian Church , internal disputes and divisions led to the so-called Avignon Captivity , which began in 1309 and ended in 1378. What happened in the 14th century?

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On the cultural level, Humanism developed in Italy , a precursor to the Renaissance . Literature also began to spread in different national languages .

In Asia, the Ming dynasty drove the Mongols beyond the borders of China; Tamerlane created the Timurid Empire and the Golden Horde began to lose influence over the Slavic principalities of the Eurasian steppes.

In Africa, the Mali Empire reached its peak under the reign of Mansa Musa (1312-1337), who based his power on the extraction of gold from the Sahelian mines. What happened in the 14th century?


The main characteristics of the fourteenth century were the following:

  • The persistence of an economic , social and demographic crisis , which opened a transition from economic feudalism to commercial capitalism that became evident in the 15th century .
  • The outbreak of urban and peasant revolts that deteriorated the fabric of feudal society. Among them, the Grande Jacquerie in northern France (1358), the Ciompi revolt in Florence (1378) and the peasant uprising at Wat Tyler in England (1381).
  • The crisis of the Catholic Church , which under the influence of the French Valois dynasty moved the papal see from Rome to Avignon.
  • The political and economic strengthening of kingdoms of Central Europe, such as Bohemia, Hungary and Poland.
  • The political and economic crisis suffered by the main kingdoms of Western Europe, including France, England, Castile, Naples and Aragon.
  • The development of Humanism in Italy, where authors such as Boccaccio, Dante Alighieri and Petrarca spread literature in Italian.

Most important events

The most important events and processes of the fourteenth century were the following:

  • In 1309 , when Clement V transferred the seat of the papacy from Rome to the French city of Avignon, the period called the Papacy of Avignon began .
  • In 1312 the Order of the Knights Templar was dissolved, by decree of Pope Clement V.
  • The death of the King of France Charles IV, in 1328, extinguished the Capetian dynasty , founded by Hugo Capet in 987.
  • The 100 Years War began , which from 1337 faced the English and the French for the succession of the Capetians. At first, the war favored the English, who defeated the French in the battles of Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356). What happened in the 14th century?
  • The Bulgarian-Ottoman Wars (1340-1396) concluded with the victories of Sultan Bayezid I in Kosovo (1389) and in Nicopolis (1396). In this way, the Ottomans took over much of the Balkans and the Byzantine Empire was encircled by the Muslims.
  • The first Castilian civil war (1351-69) faced Pedro I and his half-brother Enrique de Trastámara. The first was supported by England and the second by France. The war ended with the assassination of Pedro I and the ascent to the throne of Enrique II.
  • La Grande Jacquerie , a peasant revolt, took place in France in 1358. The peasants rebelled due to the abuses of the nobles, who wanted their serfs to repair without compensation the rural properties destroyed during the 100 Years’ War. The revolt was suppressed by the hosts of the nobility and by the troops of Carlos II of Navarre, who had aspirations to the French throne.
  • The War of the 8 Saints  (1375-78) pitted the Avignon papacy against a coalition of Italian cities, led by Florence. After the end of the war, Gregory XI returned to Rome.
  • The Ciompi revolt in Florence, Italy, in 1378, was led by the wool carders, who demanded better living conditions.
  • The unification of Poland and Lithuania in 1385, under the reign of Polish King Vladislaus II.
  • The unification of Sweden, Denmark and Norway into a single kingdom, after the establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397.

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14th century in America

During the 14th century, the initial development of 2 civilizations that in the 15th century would transform into powerful warrior empires took place in America : the Aztec and the Inca .

The Aztecs migrated from the north to the Valley of Mexico, where in 1325 they settled in the center of Lake Texcoco. There they founded the city of Tenochtitlán. Throughout the 14th century, the Aztecs were vassals of the Tepanecs, who led a warrior confederation. What happened in the 14th century?

The Incas were settled in the Cuzco region, in the Andean zone of present-day Peru, since the beginning of the 13th century. During the fourteenth century they were gradually subjugating the neighboring towns.

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