Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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The feudal system was a political structure that evolved in Europe. It was used because of an absence in centralized government. In this system kings and powerful Nobles gave land to other Nobles in return for their loyalty, military assistance, and other services. The feudal system was completely established in Northern France by the end of 900 A.D. By the mid 1000's, feudalism was the way of life throughout Western Europe.

During the time of Feudalism, kings held large territories. The territories brought on attacks from the Vikings and other people. The land couldn't withstand it. To achieve military help the kings would grant their land to the nobles. After the nobles got the land, they would grant their land to the knights in return for military services. The knights were then known as vassals. A vassal is a person who has received land in return for services.

In 1100 a system called primogeniture was introduced. This was where the oldest son inherited the fief. The fief was a grant of the land. It was otherwise known as a contract between the lord and the vassal. The primogeniture kept fiefs from being subdivided among the sons. This is how it used to be done.

Along with the feudal system there was also feudal relationships. This was an honorable relationship between legal equals. Only Nobles could be vassals. The lords that were powerful were vassals and tenants of the king. The less powerful lords were vassals and tenants to the greater lords. This chain could go on forever. The relationship between a lord and a vassal was a personal one. Each man owed loyalty to the lord above or the vassal below. If you were under a feudal contract the vassal had more obligations than the lord. The...

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