The Age of Jonson was a transitional time for England. The country still cleaved to certain relics of the medieval economy, but it was also beginning to adopt many aspects of the modern capitalist system. Some prominent features of the medieval economy were the active role played by guilds, the general absence of social or financial mobility and the existence of a localized market that ensured most transactions took place within the confines of a close-knit community. Even though these vestiges of the medieval economy could still be observed during the Elizabethan-Jacobean era, they were undeniably on the decline. Replacing them were a slew of capitalist innovations that were timed perfectly to the circumstances of the late 16th and early 17th century. Between 1550 and 1600 the population of London ballooned from approximately 50,000 to 200,000 people. This sizeable concentration of individuals, in turn, created a substantial consumer base unlike anything England could have envisioned during the Middle Ages. During this period, England also witnessed the development of two major industries: clothing and mining. Furthermore, the discovery of the New Worlds tripled Europe’s supply of gold and silver.
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