The Black DeathPosted: June 11, 2012
What is the Black Death and where did it come from?
The black death was a fatal plague that spread through medieval England during the 1300s. It causes gangrene in the toes and fingers, therefore giving it the name of “the Black Death.” The disease was first thought to have come from China and then spread to Europe by the rats and fleas that snuck onto trading ships and the sailors caught it and carried it across the trading routes from China to England. The disease first came to the city of Bristol, England in 1348 in June and August, and it reached London by the 1st of November 1348. This sickness killed up to 25 million people, a quarter of which were European, over 4 years throughout its death defying rampage through Medieval Europe. London was an extremely crowded city filled with up to 70,000 people, all who knew nothing about hygiene. The River Thames brought more ships and infection to London which spread to the rest of England. So many people died from this sickness that they couldn’t hold individual funerals for each person so they were just thrown into a big pit with hundreds of other dead people and buried there. Many people were thrown into open communal pits. Many towns and villages were completely wiped out after the destruction of the black death.
What impact did it have on Europe?
The black death killed many peasants and serfs and those that didn’t get killed ran away in fear of being infected with the plague. This caused many problems in the medieval times because the peasants and serfs made up about 90% of society. Nobles tried to decrease the amount of labour and increase the amount of payment that peasants received so that they would stay and care for them and keep their loyalty. But even with this effort, the Feudal system came to an end due to the great loss in society.
Spread of the black death-
The black death spread around Europe really quickly, due to the lack of hygiene and health maintained in Medieval England. The black death followed the sailors, rats and fleas on trade routes all around the world and infected many different countries and cities, some including: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Asia, Germany, Scandinavia, Norway, Bergen, Russia, Egypt, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Damascus, Antioch, Mecca, Mawsil, Bordeaux, Normandy, Baghdad and Yemen.
Cures in the modern day-
The main defense in the infection of the black death in modern day society is personal hygiene. But when the occasional case of this disease breaks out, the patient will get isolated and treated with a vaccine, then trace their previous actions and eliminate the cause of the outbreak. Outbreaks these days are usually caused by rodents and fleas, just like in the medieval times. Nowadays it is rather easy to find these infected rodents and eliminate them, but this would have been almost impossible in Medieval England.
“Black Death”, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/black-death.htm
(2009) “Modern Day Bubonic Plague and Black Death”, http://www.william-shakespeare.info/bubonic-black-plague-modern-day.htm
Benedictow, O. (2005), “The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever”, http://www.historytoday.com/ole-j-benedictow/black-death-greatest-catastrophe-ever
Rebecca Donato 8B