17.3B: Preindustrial Cities
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- Examine the growth of preindustrial cities as political units, as well as how trade routes allowed certain cities to expand and grow
Cities as Political Centers
- Preindustrial cities were political units, like today’s states. They offered freedom from rural obligations to lord and community.
- In the early modern era, larger capital cities benefited from new trade routes and grew even larger.
- While the city-states, or poleis, of the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea languished from the 16th century, Europe’s larger capitals benefited from the growth of commerce following the emergence of an Atlantic trade.
- lord: A titled nobleman or aristocrat
- rural obligations: For people during the medieval era, cities offered a newfound freedom from rural obligations. City residence brought freedom from customary rural obligations to lord and community.
- Preindustrial cities: While ancient cities may have arisen organically as trading centers, preindustrial cities evolved to become well defined political units.