The Black Death is known as one of the most horrible and destructive pandemics that hit the medieval world. The demise was amongst the past unforgettable incidences reported in Europe. It struck in Europe between the years 1348 and 1351. The disease was believed to be a Bubonic plague brought by a lethal bacterium called Pestis Yersinia. Medical archivists and historians believed that the plague originated from China and moved to Crimea in 1346 via the Silk Road. The disease is also believed to have come to Europe from the black mice that were often seen on the merchants’ boats.
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Mice had parasites that transmitted and caused the sickness that led to deaths. It killed 40% of the European population thus reducing the world’s population to around 350 million from 450 million in the year 1400 (Alchin par. 1). The Black Death resulted in economic, political, social and religious problems in the European history. Historians think that Europe had to take about 150 years to recover from the Black Death’s severe impacts.
The Black Death came when people were very vulnerable. The physicians could not treat infectious diseases. People were weak due to wars and crop failures. The busy trade routes spread the disease fast enough. The Black Death’s first outbreak was in China in 1328. In a period of fifty years, the disease reduced the number of Chinese to ninety million from the initial figure of 125.0 million. Approximately 7500 victims died each day (Byrne 52). It is believed to have its origin from the Gobi Desert and followed the trade routes to various countries.
The disease appeared to be on the lowest part of Tributary Volga in the fiscal 1345, continued to Caucasus and Crimea in 1346, and Constantinople in 1347. However, the disease arrived at the Egyptians land (Alexandria) in the financial year 1347.
The death invaded the Englishmen from the financial year 1348 to 1350 when Emperor Edward 3 was reigning. The disease was reported in June, and it killed Englishmen until the last case was reported in August. When death cases increased, Bristol city appeared to be essential as the only seaport that served Europe in that period. It is believed that this was the starting point for the Black Death in England (“The Black Death of 1348 to 1350” par. 2).
In the United Kingdom, the disease was first reported in 1348 (November). It flourished in London due to the city’s filthy sanitation, congestion, and spread fast since mice loved dirt and had the disease. The Black Death arrived in the UK via water vessels that sailed through Thames Stream and invaded the whole UK. As a result, 20,000.0 demises were reported in the UK by churches (Alchin par. 4). Many people ended up being buried in communal pits.
The most vulnerable were the elderly, poor and children. The disease was reported in the Norwegian land in 1349 (May) when a boat that transported angora from England arrived at the port. All travelers and boat crews were reported dead days later. The Scots invaded the northern part of England with the thought that the Englishmen were being punished. The army carried the plague to Scotland in 1950. The disease moved as far as Iceland and Greenland.
The phrase black was used to refer to the disease given that it was terrible. In fact, the demise was also named black since its signs on the membrane darkened near the inflammations. People suffering from the disease had thick black plasma, which produced bad smell. The Black Death’s signs were terrible and started once one was infected. The inflammations were on the neckline, armpit, forelegs or groins. The irritations were known as buboes. The bubo initially started by being reddish in pigment then eventually turned dark. The other symptoms were delirium, mental disorder, muscular pains, high fever, bleeding lungs, and vomiting.
The victim also had a strong desire to sleep, but the resultant effects were fatal. The victims only lived from two to four days (“The Black Death of 1348 to 1350” par. 5). The disease killed its victim quickly and was difficult to treat, as no one knew what had caused it. In fact, the disease did not have a known cure, and just concoctions were given to the victims to reduce the symptoms.
For instance, flowers, tree barks, and lavender were used to relieve headaches while nausea’s treatment was mint, wormwood, and balm. A washing detergent known as Vinegar that was assumed to eradicate the malady was used to stop the spread of this disease.
The Black Death was important in England’s history. It caused many deaths and in some areas, everybody died. For example, in the Durham District, all the inhabitants were found dead. The death toll in monasteries was the highest given that the monks lived together. High value was placed on labor due to the population drop. In 1381, the Peasants Revolt began thus ending the Feudal System (Ziegler 33).
The wool industry did well as farming took a new direction. Most of the farming lands were turned into pastoral fields that did not require labor. The Black Death caused various migrations of peasants to towns. Church power and influence declined since people had lost faith in the church.
The rate of death was high that not everyone could be given the last rights to confess his or her sins. They ended up being allowed to confess to anyone that could listen. People thought this was God’s punishment though the church had no answer to offer to his congregation (Byrne 67). Thus, the disease made people to start doubting religion and the situation brought about English Reformation
. The cause of the Black Death was unknown. Individuals assumed that the disease was caused by air freed from volcanic activities. Others believed that the Jews caused the disease to get rid of Christians. However, the plague affected everyone including the Jews. Many Jews were killed and expelled. The Jews in Germany were told to change their religion to Christianity or burned.
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The Dark Demise invaded European countries often during the fifteenth century. However, the disease was hardly deadly compared to the first time it appeared (Alchin par. 3). Another plague hit the Chinese and Indians in 1890 and spread to the United States. At this point, the cause and cure of the Black Death were discovered.
Even though life in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was uncivilized, the mortality rate during the Black Disease could not be compared to those normal days without the disease. For example, in the early fourteenth century, unfavorable weather caused wheat failures in Europe leading to famine ((Ziegler 37). The mortality rate during this period reached 10%, but it was only in some areas.
The Black Death is today known as the Bubonic Plague, which only affects a few people. The victims do not die since it is treatable in the modern times. The disease influenced Europe and most of the things that happened in the centuries that followed had their origin in the Black Death. The disease left a lasting mark on Europe and the entire world. Eventually, Europe recovered from the negative impacts with its population growing and economy improving.
Ziegler, Philip. The Black Death, London, UK: Faber & Faber, 2013. Print.
Byrne, Joseph. The Black Death, Portsmouth, NH: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. Print.
Alchin, Linda 2014, Black Death. Web.
The Black Death of 1348 to 1350. Web.