Western European Agricultural Advances Western European Agricultural Advances Over the course of world history, there have been many factors that have changed the course of Western European history. Two of those main factors were the inventions of the chest harness for the horse and the three-field system of agriculture.
The harness for the horses of the early middle ages was poorly designed and needed to be changed. The early harnesses were used around the horses neck. This led to strangulation of the horses while pulling the plow. Obviously, these early harnesses needed to be designed better to better put the use of the power and speed of the horse. This change came about in the early 900s.
An invention was made that allowed the harness to be placed around the horses chest. This new invention prevented horses from being strangled, which allowed for faster plowing and greater food production. Around the same time as the chest harness invention, medieval villagers were organizing their land into a two field system of agriculture. This system utilized one large field divided in half, one half of a field with crops and left the other half of a field was left unplanted for a year so as not to exhaust the soil. This system led to problems, because dividing the land in half led to shortages in the production of food because only half of the field was being used. This system of agriculture needed some minor adjustments to increase the production of food without destroying the soil in the process.
This new system came about around the year 800. Farmers began to use a new system, the three-field system, to farm their crops. The three field system used one large field like its earlier counterpart. The only change, was that the field was divided into three fields. Instead of only getting food from one half of your land, you could use two-thirds of the land to produce your own food.
The direct result was a greater food production. Both of these agricultural inventions forever changed the course of western European history. Using the three field system allowed for the villagers to have more to eat because of the amount of food produced. They produced more of the foods that are good sources of proteins which led to decreased sickness and disease.
This led to the increase in the population of Western Europe. People were now able to raise larger families. With the new and improved harnesses on the horses, horses could now plow quicker. A farmer could start farming more land quicker because of the faster plowing methods.
This led to even more food being produced, also increasing the population. These two inventions, brought together, forever changed the course of European history. They increased fertile land growth, increased the population, help to try and prevent disease and sickness with better foods and increased food production tremendously.