In the 1100s and 1200s, England and France became nations. This meant that lords and landowners lost much of their power. The plague killed many, meaning there were less serfs to work the land. During the Hundred Years War, the longbow was invented, putting an end to knights. All of this caused the end of feudalism.
While the feudal society started to fade, cities started to grow. The most notable return of long-distance trade was the reopening of the Silk Roads. In 1271, an Italian trader named Marco Polo started a journey to China. 24 years after he started his expedition, Polo returned to Italy. The success of his journey encouraged European traders to increase trade with Asia.
During the Middle Ages, education had heavily declined. However, in the 1200, it started to return. During this time, people turned to ancient Greece and Rome. They studied texts from that time to gain more knowledge. This lewd to a movement called Humanism, a way of thought that focuses on the potential of human achievement. The goal of Humanism is to create well-rounded individuals. Eventually, Humanism led to a movement called the Renaissance.