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The Black Death In Europe Essay

1257 words - 6 pages

The black plague killed millions of Europeans and put kingdoms in turmoil, however this essay will argue that the plague improved financial conditions for survivors and eventually advanced Europe into a new age of prosperity.
The black Plague or Black Death or even the bubonic plague was one of the worst and most devastating pandemics in human history. The black plague was a serious disease which was centered in Europe, it was recorded at killing over 70 to 200 million people peaking in the 13th and 14th centuries. The disease was reported to be the cause of a bacteria called Yersinia Pestis, which was actually not discovered until the late 19th century by French scientist Alexandre Yersin. ...view middle of the document...

Although the financial costs of the hundred year war were never fully disclosed, it surely contributed economic turmoil to the European continent not only due to the absence of workers and lack of government support but also due to the extreme taxation imposed by the states to fund and pay for the wars. The state that was hit most by economic hardship was France, the kingdom of France was one of the largest European states at the time in terms of its economy, military and population. It was hit the hardest from war, famine, economic collapse, and disease. The following excerpt by John Henneman gives a brief explanation about Frances economic status before the arrival of the black plague:
“The epidemic of 1348-49 known as the Black Death was a catastrophe for all of Europe, but tis timing was particularly unfortunate for the kingdom of France. Long afflicted by inadequate finances and recently weakened by military defeat, the French crown had managed, late in 1347, to obtain an unusually large war subsidy from the three estates of the kingdom.”
The French government ended up taxing its people extensively to be able to pay for their wars and campaigns. However at the time most of Europe was in a state of famine due to lack of viable crops, so not only did the people of France not have very much food they also had barely any revenue due to the lack of crops and jobs due to overpopulation. However, the economy and the issues only worsen due to the intense taxation and wars brought on by Europe’s states especially the French government. Not to mention the case for France and even the rest of Europe only worsens when the Black Death (Plague) arrived on the scene.
The Black Death had a huge impact on continental Europe most would argue that the mark it left was a negative one. However according economists Nico Voigtländer and Hans-Joachim Voth, the black plague and all of its side effects actually improved Europe in the long run and enabled it to be more prosperous and surpass other continents and regions in wealth and other various advancements. According to the two economists it was the plague that advanced Europe the most, rather than the renaissance era, the period of enlightenment, and the industrial revolution in the mid to late 18th and 19th centuries. One of the reasons why the Black Death was able to re shape and eventually improve Europe was due to the “rise and fall of populations.” Nico Voigtländer and Hans-Joachim Voth’s explanation on how the rise and fall of populations due to the Black Death ends up eventually creating a better future for Europe is interesting. They claim that because the Black Death caused...

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