According to researchers, about the VII century. population of Western Europe was about 14.7 million people in the middle of the tenth century. - 22,6 million, and the eve of "Black Death (plague) in 1348 - reached 54.4 million That's population growth pushed the Europeans to settle and develop new lands, whether in the form of military colonization (seizure of foreign lands by force of arms), or internal colonization (development of a peaceful free land).
first attempt of military colonization of Europeans were the Crusades to the East in order to release the Holy Land from the infidels. However, resist the Crusaders in the East could not. New military colonization attempts were made to the XII-XIII centuries. already in the Europe. Like the Crusades to the East, they were held in the name of the promotion and protection of Christianity.
At the same time actively unfolding internal colonization, because the free land in Europe has had enough. People cut down forests, swamps and turned osushuvaly uncomfortable ground for fertile fields. A considerable contribution in this case the monks. In particular, the Cistercian monks of the order of mid-XII century. founded 350 monasteries in Europe, many of which arose in the forest, heath, etc., which in a short time turned into gardens, fields and vineyards. The main result of internal colonization XI-XIII centuries. is that Europe is gradually turned into forests of Europe Fields. Gifts of forests in the diet of Europeans gave way to grain and vegetables.