Where did the Black Plague Originate?• In the early 1330s, the black plague, which was commonly referred to as the “bubonic plague”, originated in China. – Due to the country’s influence on world trade, the outbreak of the plague was able to spread into Western Asia and Europe. • The point of origin of the bubonic plague in Europe is said to be Sicily, an island off of the coast of Italy, in October or 1347 after Italian merchant ships came in contact with Chinese merchants.
Reign of Terror• The bubonic plague experienced its first outbreak in Europe in 1348 after reaching the shores of Italy the previous year. – In Medieval England, the black plague continued to infect the population the greatest between 1348 and 1350, in which 1.5 million of the 4 million people living in England died from the disease.• The European population experienced a sharp decrease in its numbers… – 1347- 75 million total – 1352 – 50 million total
Contracting the PlagueYersina pestis, the The bacterium isbacteria responsible for consumed by fleasthe bubonic through the blood theyplague, infects the skin suck; from there, theof hosts so that once a infected flea attaches toflea bites the animal, a rodents fordirect link between the transportation.flea and the bacteria iscreated. Humans were bit by the infected fleas. This directRats and other rodents contact allowed thecarried the infected fleas. bacteria to flow into theThese rats were very blood stream.common in towns andcities, which were the mainsites for the spread of thebubonic plague.Death was nearly guaranteed for those with the bubonic plague. After two to three days ofenduring painful symptoms, the body shuts down, and the victim’s body is burned to stop thespread of the sickness.
Common Symptoms • Painful swelling of the lymph nodes, commonly referred to as buboes – Appeared in the armpits, legs, neck, and groin – Buboes were of a red color at first, but then turned a dark purple or black shade over time • Very high fever (100-105 degrees Fahrenheit) • Delirium • Nausea • Bleeding under the skin • Nervous spasms • Muscular pains • Bleeding in the lungs • Mental disorientation • Fatigue The average victim survived for 2-4 days.
Doctor’s Orders! The Typical Prescription for a Black Plague Victim: • A concoction of rose, lavender, sage, and bay (for headaches); wormwood, mint, and balm (for nausea) • Be sure to lance the buboes that appear to have a black tint. – A black blood should be released; a vile smelling aroma should be present. – After the fluid is released, apply a warm poultice of butter, onion, and garlic. • Final method: pray… • Always be sure to burn the bodies of the victims so that the disease does not “spread”!!!
The Effects of the Plague on Europe• Between the years 1347 and 1352, nearly twenty-five million died of the black plague. – This is equivalent to about 1/3rd of Europe’s entire population.• This lack of Europeans in the cities and towns led to a sharp decrease in labor around the continent. – Workers began demanding higher wages for their work, but landlords refused to respond to those demands until the production of crops lowered drastically.• Lower class citizens wanted to leave villages to find a better deal from a lord; this led to a decrease of the effect of the Feudal system. To curb peasants from moving out of villages under the king’s rule, the government induced the Statute of Labourers in 1351, which stated that peasants could not be paid more than the wages paid in 1346 and that they could not leave their village. – Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 resulted from the impact of England’s social structure from the bubonic plague.
Bibliography• "The Black Death, 1348," EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/plague.ht m (2001).• “The Black Death of 1348 to 1350,” History Learning Site, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/black_death _of_1348_to_1350.htm (2011).• “The Black Death: Bubonic Plague,” The Middle Ages, http://www.themiddleages.net/plague.html (2010)• “Black Death,” The Middle Ages Website, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/black- death.htm (2008)