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Events Changing The Course Of History

973 words - 4 pages

The bubonic plague, the Hundred Years War, and the reign of Genghis Khan could be said to have changed the course of world history by prompting better working conditions and pay for the poor, ending the feudal system in Europe, and proposing tolerance for religion and equality for people, respectively.The bubonic plague during the 14th century killed a third of Europe's population, causing great despair and pain, but it also contributed to advancement of technology and better working conditions for the poor. The disease is aggressive and spreads easily from person to person. It has long been thought to have originated in China, one of the world's busiest of the world's trading nations. The bacteria that causes the disease lives in the gut of fleas, which were transported on rats that inhabited trading ships traveling from China to Africa and Europe. A recent theory indicates that the plague may have originated in ancient Egypt. Europeans were especially susceptible to the disease, because they lived in filthy, crowded conditions. Europeans, lacking refrigeration, often ate diseased meat. Medical knowledge was primitive, and victims often received bad advice, such as to refrain from bathing.Death from the plague was painful, but fast. The first signs were aching limbs and vomiting blood. These symptoms were followed by swollen lymph nodes. The swelling continued for a few days until the lymph nodes burst. It was painful, and the victims' skin became mottled with spots that were initially red, then which turned black, giving the disease the nickname "Black Death."It has been theorized that the plague may have contributed to the Little Ice Age in the 1300s. The earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide sharply increased between 1200 and 1300, believed to have been caused by deforestation brought about by Europeans. After 1350, the pattern reversed, possibly due to reforestation following the plague. The earth was reforested, because the drastically reduced population, with 25 million fewer people, cut down fewer trees.The bubonic plague also hit Europe's economy hard. Many skilled workers died, leaving fewer resources in the economy. Serfs began to leave their land, refusing to plant and harvest crops. Domesticated animals began to roam the forests. Crops and animals died from lack of care.The Christian Church and art also suffered as a result of the Black Death. People believed that God was punishing them, or they lost faith in the existence of God. Clergy abandoned their duties. European art changed from glorifying rules and God to dark, gloomy, and menacing. Sculptures reflected worms and snails eating the afflicted. Paintings showed people socializing with skeletons.The plague may also have inspired technological innovations and improvements. The shortage of labor caused by so many deaths forced, for example, the printing press. There were many fewer scribes to copy written works by hand, making hand copying too expensive. In addition, there were so...

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