Feudalism describes a combination of military, social, and legal customs that took place in medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. It is broadly defined as the way in which society was structured around the relationships derived from the possession of land in exchange for a service or work. Although the etymology of the word is derived from the Latin feudum or feodum (feud), then the word used, neither feudalism nor the system it describes was conceived as a formal political system by people living in the Middle Ages.

Even today, the term is a matter of debate, with some scholars limiting its use to describing arrangements among the nobility, some extending its use to describe the social order of the Middle Ages, and another group of scholars questioning its usefulness as a term. concept. Feudalism, in its many forms, emerged as a result of the decentralization of an empire, especially the Carolingian Dynasty (a line of Frankish kings who ruled Western Europe between the 8th and 10th centuries), which lacked the necessary bureaucratic infrastructure to support it. of the cavalry, by not assigning land to these troops.

Thus, the soldiers began to ensure a hereditary system over the land, and their power over the territory began to encompass the political, judicial, and economic spheres. This acquired power greatly diminished the unitary power of these empires. Even when the infrastructure existed to maintain such unitary power (as was the case with European monarchies), it began to give way to this new structural power, known as feudalism, and eventually disappeared. Classical feudalism describes a set of reciprocal, legal and military obligations between the warriors of the nobility, which revolve around three fundamental concepts: lords, vassals and fief.

A lord was, generally speaking, a nobleman who owned land; the vassal was the person who was granted (by the lord) the possession of the land and this was known as the fiefdom. In exchange for the use of the fief and the protection of the lord, the vassal provided him with some kind of service. There were different types of feudal land tenure, they could be military or non-military services. The corresponding obligations and rights were mutually agreed between the lord and the vassal. The term “feudal society” It encompasses not only the warrior aristocratic structure linked to vassalage, but also the peasants bound by the lordship and the assets of the church.