Feudalism emerged during the Middle Ages and would last for many years, a strong part of culture in France, England, Spain and other parts of the Christian world following the fall of the Roman Empire. Feudalism, in its most simple form, was a military and political system that was implemented as a way to cease the disorder that existed in much of Europe following the end of Roman rule. Feudalism had many different aspects to it, the most important being the system in which the lord would give his subjects land in return for services that would benefit the lord himself, like military protection. It became an important part of the culture of these nations because it brought order to what had become so chaotic following the end of the Roman Empire.
Feudalism first emerged in France in the 1100’s, and it was the establishment of it that helped to bring Europe out of the Dark Ages. It was political and economic in nature because it involved the relationship between a lord and his vassals (or in other words, his subjects) and required that the vassals give something back to their lord in return for the land he would give them to work. Under this system an agricultural aspect would emerge as well as peasants would work the land of their lords. This system is often known as fiefdoms. Aristocracy would emerge from the system of feudalism that existed, a huge impact on economics. Politically, this system created order and a system of government that was closely held to because of feudalism.
By the 1400’s, feudalism began to disappear, but it’s impact on politics and economics in the European nations in which it was in place was huge. Economically, feudalism had a large impact on society by creating an aristocracy and a peasant class. Politically it created a system where there were clear leaders and clear subjects, unlike the warring tribes that had been the norm in Europe prior to the implementation of feudalism. It was an important aspect of how Europe would progress into the types of political systems that are present now.
Nelson, Rebecca, ed. The Handy History Answer Book. Detroit: Visible Ink, 1999.