Month: February 2014
Aside Posted on
History Lesson 80
The Black Death
The Black Death, also known as the Bubonic plague was the most devastating plague / disease Europe has ever seen. It killed 30 – 60% of Europe’s population totaling close to 25 million in Europe alone. Pictured above is the effect of the Black Death after it has completely taken hold. If your skin looked like that you were going to die soon.
The Symptoms of the Black Death were fever, vomiting, chills, red patchy blotches that spread rapidly and sometimes bad headaches were all symptoms of the Bubonic plague, the plague lasted for 2 years like this from 1348 – 1350.
The plague originated from rats and the fleas that where carried by the rats. The rats lived in almost every house hold in Europe, so that’s the reason that almost everyone got it within a short amount of time.
A popular nursery rhyme that I bet everyone knows is “Ring around the Rosie”. It goes like this:
Ring around the Rosie.
Pocket full of Posies.
Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down.
The first line means the red lines around the infected skin (Sometimes there would be a bright red ring around the infected skin before it turned black.)
The second line is portraying how the people would carry their shirt and pants pockets full of posies to reduce the smell of rot and the plague.
The final line is the final step in the plague when the people would die (We all fall down) and Ashes, Ashes being they would burn the bodies because they lacked the man power to dig graves and bury everyone who dies, that’s just an example of how many people died.
The main reason this plague lasted so long is because the doctors had no idea how to treat it neither did the people. Also since the people were not used to mass illness they didn’t know how to be clean and sanitary. That’s another reason why the plague spread so much because they had very poor sanitary systems such as above ground sewers and poor water sources such as public wells. Something interesting is that the people thought it was a message from God portraying they hadn’t been faithful or something similar. So, the way they thought fixed that was to publically whip themselves to “remove sins”.
It was such an epidemic that it took Europe almost 150 years to recover and bounce back to its original population before the plague. This really affected Europe’s military stance during that time. It also affected Europe’s sources of food. They had enough man power to plant it but not enough to harvest the crops. So, they basically had crops just sitting out in the fields turning bad while they were all dying and with no way to harvest it.
So, to wrap it up this was one of the most devastating blows the Europeans have taken in the last 10 centuries! There was close to 75 million deaths total if you include the later epidemic in the east, that’s even more than World War II (60 million deaths). It could have completely wiped out the whole population of Europe in another year or two if it wasn’t stopped.