Ring Around the Rosie
The years 1348 through 1350 had been an extremely gruesome and miserable time in our world’s history. During this time period, one of the most devastating pandemics in history had struck half the world with an intensifying and deadly blow. It had been responsible for over 75 million deaths and 20 million of these deaths were from Europe alone. Out of the countries that were hit hardest in Europe from mortality rates and economic downturns, England was one of them. This grave disease that marked the end of the middle ages and the start of the modern age is known as the Black Plague.
Many wondered what the true cause of the Black Plague was and how it spread all across the world in such a short amount of time. Throughout its time period, many medical authorities and scientists sought to give rational explanations for the reasons why the plague was spreading and believed it was caused by several factors such as: “corrupted air and water, hot and humid southerly winds, proximity of swamps, lack of purifying sunshine, excrement and other filth, putrid decomposition of dead bodies, excessive indulgence in foods (particularly fruits), God's wrath, punishment for sins, and the conjunction of stars and planets” (Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence). The confusion and lack of scientific knowledge on the harmful disease caused much panic and triggered many outbreaks among individuals. Many people began to start placing cities and ships under quarantine, burning sulfur to purify bad air, burning clothes, and even blaming and killing Jews in hope that they could solve a cure or at least stop the spread.
It has now been scientifically proven that the Black Plague had first originated from arid plains of central Asia. It was then spread from traders along the Silk Road and also from rat-infested merchant ships that were carrying grain to countries across the Mediterranean. The disease was caused by a bacterium known as, Bacillus Yersinia Pestis, which is easily transmitted from rodents to humans through the bites of infected fleas. These fleas were able to “live for months and travel easily in clothing and grain shipments and presumably they were carried by human commerce to other communities of people and rats” (Black Death). This helps explain why the bubonic plaque was able to spread so fast and easily across the shipping routes and into other countries. In the 14th century it was also extremely easy to get infected by the plague since the living standards were tremendously low and therefore many people lived in relatively close proximity with household rats that carried infected fleas. Also, since the population was growing so fast and inflation was rising before the pandemic occurred, the cost of food was rising and made it hard for people to have good nutrition since they couldn’t buy the necessary food to keep a higher and healthier standard of living.
The symptoms of the Black Plague were striking and exceedingly...