The Black Death: The Darkest Period Of European History.

1775 words - 7 pages

Since the beginning of the human race's existence, there have been many devastating events, but none even compare to the black plague. The black plague was an extreme detriment to Europe's thriving population during the 1300's. It caused stress, diminished religious toleration for Jews, pulled families apart from each other, and worst of all, tore citizens apart from the real meaning of Christianity. The destruction of Europe during and after the plague, is to this day, beyond compare. The black plague was the single most malignant natural calamity in European history.Many people think that the plague was exclusive to Europe only, but that's not the case. The black plague originated in central Asia, in the Gobi desert during the 1320's. It quickly moved southward and eastward, into china, proving to be a devastating blow to the already weakened nation. Combined with all of the other natural disasters at the time, the plague tore china's population to pieces. From 1331 to 1353, the plague had totalled off two-thirds of China's population.Then the plague started moving westward, infecting India, Persia, and Egypt on it's way to Europe. In October of 1347, at the port of Messina, in Sicily, Italy, a fleet of twelve Genoese (from Genoa, Italy) merchant ships arrived in the port. On one of the ships, the whole crew of seventeen, was found dead in the ship by harbourmasters. They tried to turn the ships back, but the ships had been docked long enough for foreign pests to settle ashore. The foreign pests were in fact, black Asian rats, carrying fleas. Now this incident wouldn't normally be too unusual, and serious of an occurrence, but the fleas were infected with a bacteria, and by feeding on the rats as their hosts, they became infected also.The reason that this was happening, was because the bacteria Yersinia Pestis, which usually dwells safely in the stomach of the fleas, was reproducing at a peculiar rate. The excessive reproduction of this bacteria inside the flea, blocked the flea's stomach, causing it to starve. While attempting to feed on a host, usually a rodent, the flea would regurgitate the bacteria into the bloodstream of it's host, causing the host to become infected with the plague bacilli. As more and more hosts died, the fleas searched frantically for new hosts. Ultimately, the fleas fed on humans as a last resort, to attempt to appease their starving bodies. Once humans were infected with the disease, it spread rapidly, like a wild fire, through towns and cities. People started suddenly getting "egg-sized buboes (hence the name bubonic plague), under the arm pits, and in the groin. Then, purplish blotches appeared, caused by haemorrhaging. The buboes sometimes burst, oozing blood, and pus. A terrible stench was associated with the disease--the victim's blood, breath, sweat, and urine all had a horrible odour." (pg.34, Corzine, Phyllis, {1997}, The Black Death, San Diego, California: Lucent Books Inc.)At the time, little was known...

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