The Black Plague Essay

1033 words - 4 pages

"Black Death"

The "Black Plague"-the bubonic plague- struck Europe and the Mediterranean area from 1347 through 1351. It was the first of many plagues to hit the European area. These plagues went on until the early 18th century these were much after the ones in the 6th and 8th century. But they were followed by a series of less harmful ones in the 19th century. But the Black Death was not referred to as the bubonic plague but instead Pestilence, or the Great Mortality.

In fact, the Black Plague was caused by bacterium transmitted from Old English rats and fleas. The bacterium is called Yersinia pestis. It was spread from infected rats to non-infected rats by being bitten by fleas. The flea bit the infected rats and the germ moved into and lived in the flea's stomach. The flea's stomach became filled with the bacterium and could no longer digest blood. When the newly infected flea bit a rat or human, it threw up into the bite causing the victim to become infected with the Black Death. There was an estimated one rat for each European family and three fleas to the rat. Some others ways on contraction of the plague were direct contact with body fluids of an infected person or inhalation of airborne drops. The untreated bacterium continued to develop in the bloodstream. A severe blood infection would then begin to develop. In effect, bleeding under the skin occurred, and the skin appeared dark and purple because of dried blood. This is how the name "Black Death" was coined. This disease is passed to humans by blood attached fleas.

It was by far the largest plague during the Middle Ages; that it hit during the Sixth, Fourteenth, and Seventeenth centuries. Over one hundred and thirty-seven million people died from the Bubonic Plague; at worst the plague claimed approximately two million lives per year. If one was unfortunate enough to become exposed to the deadly bacterium, there was a ninety-percent chance of death. Death would proceed shorter than a week after the initial infection. The Bubonic Plague led to many changes in medieval society. The effects of the plague led to a structural rebuilding to the economic, occupational, and religious aspects of society. Ultimately, the plague laid the foundation for the Renaissance throughout Europe. The Bubonic Plague is thought to have originated in Asia approximately during the early 1330s. The deadly disease is traced back to China's Gobi desert. From there it killed around thirty-five million people and spread to the coast of China, one of the world's trade centers at the time. With the large amount of trade and influx of people and goods, it was only an amount of time before Western Asia and Europe became infected (Rice). In October of 1347 Italian merchant ships returned from China to the Black Sea. The...

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