The Black Death of The Fourteenth Century

The Black Death became an epidemic of grand-scale proportions that would wipe out more than one-third of the population in Europe and set a stage for more following disasters. It started in the mid fourteenth century and lasted till the eighteenth century. Rodents and fleas were thought to be main aggravators of the crisis even though its origins somewhat still remain controversy. However, most experts believe it came across the sea from Asia through ships.  Some regions it came into contact with were: Italy, Egypt, Germany, France, and the Slavic Lands. When it reached land it was quick to spread across towns from infected host to others.  Europe’s biggest and most crowded cities were prime regions of catastrophic loss, once someone became infected there was more than 50% chance they would die. People were hesitant to come into contact with the dead and instead instituted crude burial arrangements in the form of “bad death” grave sites. The plague not only caused deaths in population but also severely impacted city structure, making government at the local level cease function for some time. There were three forms of plagues associated with it 1. Bubonic Plague attacking the lymph nodes of the body, 2. Pneumonic Plague infecting the lung tissue of the body, and 3. Septic Plague contaminating the blood system of the body.  Since society at that time could not even provide means for effective medicine needed on large scale to deal with basic disease issues, this new crisis seemed to be, that, the more devastating. Coupled with the realities of horrible sanitary conditions, contamination spread like wild fire in California during the hot and dry months of August and September. All hope was not lost though; in come religious fanatics of the “self inflicted” type that practiced spiritual atonement.  They reasoned that by beating or lacerating their bodies they could in some way drive-off the plague. Needless to say that didn’t do much good except provide some with bragging rights.  Much more beneficial were containment methods along with new embargo implementations which proved to be of more help to end the plague—than the previously mentioned religious inspiration.

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