Probably the greatest impact left by the Black Death was Europe’s economic infrastructure. Most significantly, valuable artisan skills disappeared due to the decimated working class. The few skilled workers who survived became even more valuable than the wealthy. The social structure began to change, giving once-poor laborers a greater voice. Peasants and artisans demanded higher wages. Serfs seeking liberation from tilling their lord’s land were told by decree and statue to return to their master’s duties. But having witnessed so much death, the poor wanted to enjoy life.
With serfs leaving their land, crops went unplanted and perished. Stray animals died of starvation because of the lack of care. Several domesticated animals began to roam the forest. Farming communities became rare.
The lack of sufficient law enforcement personnel promoted lawlessness. People called “Bechini” pillaged homes, murdering and raping villagers. They dressed in red robes with red masks showing only their eyes. The horror of the Black Death had taken on a new victim: the economy.