The History Of The Great Plague

1506 words - 7 pages

The Great Plague was one of the most destructive diseases ever in the history of mankind. This Plague spread through China and eventually made its way to Europe and killed around 50 million people. During this time the Great Plague dominated and brought the worst out of people. This pestilence started in Europe during the 14th century. Around this time period the population was growing rapidly and the food supply was scarce due the severe weather. Winters were especially cold and very dry because of the extreme weather. (History today.com)
Even though scholars say it is unclear actually where the Black Plague started but many of them believe the outbreak of this Great Mortality started in Mongolia in the later 1320s. From there they believe this disease spread into China and some parts of Asia. By 1347 this epidemic killed an estimated twenty five million people in China, India and parts of Asia.( Life during the Black Plague) One of the first signs of this disaster in Europe was in Messina, Sicily in 1347. This lethal epidemic arrived on trading ships that traveled through the Black and the Mediterranean Sea.“ This was a very standard trade route that brought things like silk and porcelain to European customers. These items were carried over land and through the Black Sea and came from as far away as China.” (Black Death 1347 about.com) When the ships arrived at the Sicilian port of Messina after there long journey most of the sailors were extremely sick or dead. Their family members and friends could not believe the horror that they were seeing. When the Sicilian authorities arrived they ordered the ships out of the harbor, hoping it was not too late. The disease was so contagious that it started to spread right away.” The people had no defense or understanding of the pestilence, the men, women and children caught in the onslaught were bewildered, panicked, and finally devastated.”
The disease was caused by Bacterium Yersinia Pestis which circulates among wild rats that usually lived in huge colonies. It was mainly the black rat that carried around this dangerous bacterium. These rats were called house or ship rats. They are different then the grey or brown rat because they like to be close to people. It usually took around fourteen days to kill off the infected rats that were living in the colonies. These rats carried around flies so when the rats died the fleas had to find another source or warm body to survive. So it was the fleas that actually were the one spreading around this infectious disease. These fleas were very adaptable to finding different location to survive. They were much different than human fleas because they would get invested in the house and the clothing of the people, they could also live on humans. This is one of the reasons why the plague spread so quickly. The flea population expanded in warmer weather and tended to die off in the winter when it got really cold. By the summer of 1348 this fatal epidemic had spread...

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