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The collapse of the medieval world

In the early fourteenth century, a series of adverse circumstances generated an instability


that led to the medieval world to the crisis and triggered the end of the Middle Ages.

Demographic and social crisis


Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, population growth occurred due to economic
expansion. This process, however, stopped in the early fourteenth century by unfavorable
weather conditions and the depletion of agricultural soils, which led to years of bad harvests
and great famines. These problems were exacerbated by the devastating effects of the Black
Death epidemic that wiped out a third of Europe's population between 1348 and 1351.
On the other hand, between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, there were popular
uprisings in various regions, both in the countryside and in the cities. The riots originated
because farmers had to face, in addition to crop failure and pestilence, increasing tax
demands of the Church, the State and the feudal lords.

The crisis of Christianity


During the Middle Ages, the papacy came to play the role of arbiter of Europe. However, this
situation changed from the thirteenth century, when national monarchies were born. Kings
and princes Pope rejected interventions in their kingdoms and asserted their authority in
ecclesiastical affairs of their domains. In this context, clashes between the King of France,
Philip IV, and Pope Boniface VIII were produced.
When Philip IV wanted to impose taxes on goods of the Church, he found the opposition of
the Pope, who responded by claiming the papal supremacy against the temporal power of
kings. Felipe met a national council to judge the pope, who was taken prisoner. Boniface
VIII broke free from his prison, but died shortly afterwards. Felipe IV advantage of the
situation to appoint a French Pope Clement V, and moving the papal seat to the French city
of Avignon. Between 1308 and 1377, he was appointed to a series of French popes who
lived there, but in 1378, Pope Gregory XI decided to return to Rome, where he died.
His successor, Urban VI, chose to remain in that city despite the pressure of the king of
France to return to Avignon. As a result, a group of dissident cardinals proclaimed a new
Pope (Clement VII), resulting in the Great Schism, the Church was divided and there were
two popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon. This situation lasted from 1377 to 1417. Finally,
the conflict was resolved at the Council of Constance (1418), in which it was possible to
reunify the Church with the election of Martin V as the only pope. In addition, it was
established that the residence of the Pope was in Rome.