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What is Feudalism?
Feudalism was a system of Government that prevailed in what is called the middle ages and that pipe their principles in the last two centuries of the middle ages. This affected all forms of cultural and social expression of that time. Many people think that the feudalism begins with the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne. the truth is that its beginnings are in the Roman Empire: when it reached its maximum splendour the Empire became ungovernable because it had a huge bureaucracy, the army that protected the long borders (he had to pay, since to a large extent it was mercenaries) and the fall of production makes that emperors even more expensive taxes and the State loses its protective functionRegulation and governance.
Farmers, by not paying taxes, sold their lands and estates formed. At the only time there were many free peasants and were not sufficient to enable the production and pay these taxes. The Empire is dismembered and displayed a series of small kingdoms and cities State. Here is where Charlemagne is important, it makes a series of alliances (contracts) where gives land to allies in Exchange for allegiance, taxes and the feudal Lord would do is charge of the needs of his fiefdom. The vassals who were under the feudal Lord took care of the production and maintenance of almost all in Exchange for the protection of the feudal Lord.
Besides this was entitled to recruit an army among his vassals and generally had a very despotic power. Church founds the order of the chivalry to stop precisely these excesses related to feudalism, which ultimately was not entirely successful, but that if regulated much the power of the feudal lords, an example were the Templars, that removing all the legend surrounding this order, became the bankers of Europe, lending without interest to the poor and with certain "usury" to the Princes, this led to the rumor that it possessed immense fortunes which certain nobles tried to take over under any pretext, when the order was disbanded found that there were no such fortunes.
In at this time was the Church who had the Pan by the handle, all that was left of the Roman Empire just the Church maintained an organized and functional structure covering all of Europe. Its Bishops often had titles of nobility and wielded both temporal power and the divine in their dioceses, collecting a tax or tithe, which as usual in some places was large and in others not. For the central power of the Church represented by the Pope, it meant a wealth few times before vista and this corruption and many excesses that were denounced for a long time. In the end feudalism is a kind of contract between farmers, feudal lords and their rulers in order to achieve protection and the fall of the Roman Empire, which however meant a new order and order in itself very perfected (in another way you explain so many centuries of feudalism) and that ends up triggering the absolutist monarchism of the Renaissance.