Different kinds of medieval governments
In the Middle Ages, Europe split up into many different states. Each state had its own system of government. Some of these, like Denmark, Spain, France or England, were monarchies, and had kings or caliphs to rule them. Central Italy was ruled by the Pope, when it wasn’t in the Holy Roman Empire.
How did they choose rulers?
Most of the time, kings and queens were the children of the last king or queen. But it was also pretty common for the rich men to get together and elect kings and queens, or for generals to fight their way into the position. Popes were also always elected.
Empires and republics
There were also two empires: the Eastern Roman Empire in Eastern Europe and the Holy Roman Empire that ruled most of Germany and Italy. Some parts of northern Italy were independent city-states with a republican government like ancient Rome.
The problem with medieval government
The main problem with all of these governments was that the kings and emperors of the Middle Ages weren’t very powerful. They tried to tell their subjects what to do, but a lot of the time their subjects just said “No” and didn’t pay any attention. The rulers didn’t have enough money to pay soldiers, so they couldn’t make people do what they wanted.
The western European governments used feudalism to help the king keep control, but often this just caused more problems.
In Italian republics like Florence and Genoa, there were a lot of civil wars, when one side wouldn’t accept the decision of the majority vote and they fought each other. Thousands of mercenary soldiers fought in these wars.
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