The mediaeval town was a fortified place where people lived who most of all engaged in commerce and trade.
It was created either from the remnants of older towns dating back to times before the Middle Ages or as a new settlement of people. These settlements were also built in special places marked by their location near a body of water, a trading route, a castle or a monastery.
With the rise and increasing importance of the town during the Middle Ages, the power structures in Europe changed as well. Town charters and wealthy, influential town citizens increasingly competed with the old power holders such as the emperor, king or other sovereigns from the nobility and Church.