The Black Death – Erin Gridley 8A

What was it (The Black Death) and where did it come from?

The Bubonic Plague, also known as the Black Death, was a one of the most devastating pandemics in human history that is believed to have broken out in China due to poor sanitation and hygiene. In some areas, nearly 50% of the Chinese people died. It swept through India and Persia before entering Europe through Crimea and Italy. Bad sanitation and hygiene caused an outbreak of rats through the streets. These rats carried fleas which carried the Bubonic plague. The fleas would bite humans and inject the disease into them. It struck Europe from 1346 to 1351. The Black Death has been named ‘The Mother Of All Plagues” due to its devastating death toll of over 25 million.


What impact did it have on Europe?

The Black Death had a devastating effect on all of Europe. By the time the plague had played itself out, between 25% and 50% of the people had been affected by the Plague. The disease struck and killed its victims with horrifying speed. The Italian writer Boccaccio said its victims “Ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors in paradise.” In just under 5 years, over 25 million people died. This is equal to one third of Europe’s population. On Jess Conlon’s page, it explains how The Black Death affected the Feudal System and how it contributed to its fall.


(Bonus question) Who was the Plague Doctor?

A Plague Doctor was a special medical physician who visited those who had the plague. He wore a costume to protect him from airborne diseases. This costume consisted of an ankle-length coat, a bird-like beak which was filled with a pleasant smelling substance (the buboes were extremely smelly) , along with gloves, boots and a brim hat. Eyeholes were cut into thte mask and replaced with glass. Any visible skin was covered to prevent skin-to-skin contact. The doctor also carried a wood cane which was used to lift bed sheets and clothing and also point out areas that needed attention. In that time, the doctors believed the plague was spread through the air because of the bad smells, not through rats and fleas. This is why they covered up every inch of open skin to they don’t touch the disease ridden air. The Plague Doctor costume was perhaps the most potent symbol of the Black Death.