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1400 up to 1450

Dry stone wall of Dersenow churchyard

The principality of Wenden (Werle-Güstrow) fell to the Duchy of Mecklenburg in 1436.

The knights developed fortified seats alongside villages and took over jurisprudence, patronage of the churches, collection of taxes or rural services from the princes. The situation of the farmers deteriorated further due to the plague and constant battles. Provincial trades worked for the domestic market. The guilds (“Ämter”) arranged for “non-guilded” craftsmen to be pursued.

The Hansa supported the founding of Rostock University in 1419 with the legal, medical, theological and artistic faculty. Secondary schools in larger towns prepared the sons of wealthy citizens for university.

Richtenberg in the Stralsund illuminated manuscript, around 1615

The Danish Queen Margarete brings Denmark, Norway and Sweden into the Kalmar Union. Her great nephew Eric II, Duke of Pomerania, succeeds her on the throne in 1412. But he returns to Pomerania in 1449. The territorial disintegration reaches its apex.

Stralsund grows to 13,000 inhabitants. Barth, Wolgast, Anklam and Demmin are also Hanse cities. Private schools instruct the scions of crafts families in reading, writing and arithmetic.

The nobility gains important rights, such as patronage of the church, collection of taxes, jurisprudence or the use of farmers‘ services.

Tar smelting plants cut down beech forests to produce pitch as a sealant and lubricant. Charcoal burning processed wood into charcoal. Fire also destroys broad swathes of woodland.

Christenings, engagements and weddings or funeral rites upon someone’s death were occasions for families to meet up and beer was consumed. Birthdays were not celebrated. In towns, fashionable clothing is an expression of social status.

Criticism of these conditions flares up due to the sale of indulgences, proclivities for earthly delights among the clergy and violence. A senior member of the Stralsund clergy plunders the estates outside the city in 1407. In response, the burghers in the city condemn three priests to death by fire.

Food was based on local agricultural products. Imported spices were expensive.