The Plague• The Black Plague, otherwise known as the Black Death and the Bubonic Plague was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history.• The disease spread throughout Europe during the middle ages, and peeked from 1348- 1350.• The Black Death killed 40-60% of the European population.• The epidemic created upheavals which created profound effects on the course of European history.
The start of the pandemic• The Black Death first appeared in China in 1333, killing five million people in Hubei province alone.• Traders and soldiers unknowingly carried the disease along the Silk Road. The Silk Road lead from China all the way to the Middle East.• In 1347 a fleet of plague infested merchant ships docked in Messina, Italy, spreading the plague.• Between 1347-1351 the disease killed 2/3 of the people living in Europe.
Spreading of the Black Death• The plague was carried by Oriental Rat fleas living on black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships. The disease was spread when a flea carrying the bacteria bit a human.• The cause of the epidemic has always remained highly controversial. though, it has been scientifically proven that Yersinia Pestis Bacterium was the cause of the deadly disease.• Life before the plague was rough considering the wars, bad weather, and famine. Once the disease hit full force starving people were more susceptible because their bodies werent strong enough to fight off the disease. Most importantly people were unaware of personal hygiene, which
Medical Practices• Another factor of the radical number of deaths was due to the lack of medical advances and technology.• Doctors didnt have enough knowledge to figure out what caused the plague and how they could keep from spreading it.• The remedies doctors used on infected patients often did more harm than good.• One practice used was called bloodletting, it involved cutting someone to make them bleed profusely, and the sickness would be drained out of them. It didnt help and often the person receiving the treatment died from too much
Symptoms of the Plague• The Black Plague was marked with puffy bumps called buboes, which oozed pus and blood on peoples necks, armpits, and groins.• The skin also developed black patches and boils.• People infected with the disease often died within a week after they started showing symptoms.• Other symptoms of the Black Death included:• a very high fever• delirium• the victim begins to vomit• muscular pains• bleeding in the lungs• mental disorientation
The Middle Ages• During the Middle Ages it was essential that people were given the last rites and had the chance to confess their sins before they died. The spread of the deadly plague in England was swift and the death rate was almost 50% in isolated populations such as monasteries.• The situation was so bad that Pope Clement VI was forced to grant remission of sins to all who died of the Black Death. Victims were even allowed to confess their sins to one another.• The church could offer no reason for the deadly disease and beliefs were sorely tested. This had such a devastating effect that people started to question religion and such doubts ultimately
Societal Effects• The Black Death had a huge impact on society. Fields went unploughed as the men who usually did this were victims of the disease.• Those lords who lost their manpower to the disease, turned to sheep farming as this required less people to work on the land. Grain farming became less popular, this kept towns and cities short of such basics as bread.• One consequence of the Black Death was inflation, the price of food went up creating more hardship for the poor. In some parts of England, food prices went up by four times.
Social Order• The pandemic frightened people so much that the whole social order broke down.• In a state of panic people started blaming minorities and foreigners for spreading the plague.• People rejected the absolute authority of the church, and class hierarchies began to break down.• Because there were shortages in laborers peasants were allowed to demand more rights and higher pay.
Social Order• Those who survived the Black Death believed that there was something special about them ;almost as if God had protected them. Therefore, they took the opportunity offered by the disease to improve their lifestyle.• Feudal Law stated that peasants could only leave their village if they had their lord’s permission. Now many lords were short of desperately needed labour for the land that they owned. After the Black Death, lords actively encouraged peasants to leave the village where they lived to come to work for them. When peasants did this, the lord refused to return them to their• original village. The government faced the prospect of peasants leaving their villages to find a better deal from a lord.This began upsetting the whole idea of the Feudal System which had been introduced to tie peasants to the land. Ironically, this movement by the peasants was encouraged by the lords who were meant to benefit from the Feudal System.