black plague

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black plague

The Black Plague, then known as the Great Pestilence, was the worlds largest pandemic in all of history. The Black Plague in Europe first began in 1347 and continued until about 1350. It has been recently suggested that the epidemic was caused by a bacteria called Yersinia pestis. The bacteria traveled via fleas who bit infected rats and then bit a human. The plague also spread by coughing up drops of infected saliva. It originated in Mongolia and infected almost all of Asia. The Mongols were then looking to expand their empire and attacked a city on the outskirts of Italy. During the battle, the Mongols were very sick with the infection and many of their soldiers died. It is believed that they catapulted their dead infected bodies into the confines of the city, one of the first examples of biological warfare in history. From then on, the disease raged in Europe, spreading quickly from Italy to France and then to Spain and England. Over the course of the years to follow, the entire continent had fallen subject to the pestilence and lost a majority of it's population. There were three strains of the bacteria that affected the European population. The first and most common was the bubonic plague. This was spread by carrier fleas and gathered in the persons lymph nodes. The mortality rate for the bubonic plague was between 30 - 75%. The second most common strain was the pneumonic plague. This was spread by infected saliva and gathered in the lungs of the victim. The mortality rate for pneumonic plague was 90 - 95%. And finally the most rare form of the disease was septicemic plague. When infected with the septicemic plague, the victims skin would turn a deep purple color. The mortality rate for this strain was 100% and still today there is no cure. The plague usually took 1 - 7 days to kill a victim. Some of the first symptoms of the plague were high fever, heavy coughing, and chills. Once the bacteria set in, blood would tint the saliva and the lymph nodes would swell, sometimes to the size of an orange. The plague had proven to be a very terrifying and painful disease. The Black Plague had both short and long term consequences and effects on the world at the time. The church lost a lot power immediately after the plague hit. The Europeans did not understand what was happening so they were looking for answers. The Church promised many things; that it was God's will and that things would get better. But they still didn't have any answers. In some towns, people revolted against the Church for saying false things. Seeing that so many died, the serfs and laborers that remained could then charge higher fares for their services. This ultimately led to the fall of feudalism and the increase of skilled laborers.

The Black Plague


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