Pandemics: The Black Death In The Middle Ages

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The word “pandemic” can be defined as a disease that takes over a whole country or even the world. The Black Death was exactly that, one of the most shocking and serious pandemics that took over Europe and Asia in the Middle Ages. The Black Death, also known as the Bubonic Plague, reached Europe in the late 1340s and killed around 25 million people there; altogether, it eventually killed an estimated 75 million people worldwide. The Black Death originated in China in the 1330s. China was a very popular nation for trade at the time, which led to a quick spread of this disease. In October of 1347, several Italian ships returned from a trip to the Black Sea, one of the key routes in trade with China. Europe was having very pleasant centuries for …show more content…
According to history.com, “The Black Death arrived in Europe by sea in October 1347 when 12 Genoese trading ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina after a long journey through the Black Sea.” Many people died along the way on this journey, and the ones who survived were very sick. The people that survived the journey were covered in strange black boils that leaked blood and pus. These odd, dangerous, black boils gave way to the name “the black death.” After the boils oozed, many symptoms such as fevers, vomiting, diarrhea and eventually death followed. The first signs of this plague seemed like a common illnesses with little indication of the tragedy to come. The Black Death was caused by an infectious disease from bacteria called Yersinia pestis. Yertsinia pestis is a bacteria found mainly in rats, fleas, and rodents but easily transmitted to humans. One may conclude that the ships docking at the port of Messina was the cause for this dangerous plague. This terrifying disease was contagious and spread rapidly throughout Europe. According to history.com, “Not long after it struck Messina, the Black Death spread to the port of Marseilles in France and the port of Tunis in North Africa. Then it reached Rome and Florence, two cities at the center of an elaborate web of trade routes. By the middle of 1348, the Black Death had struck Paris, …show more content…
The wealthy were able to flee easier, leaving the less fortunate to survive for themselves. According to Zahler, “Children abandoned the father, husband abandoned the wife, wife the husband, one brother the other, one sister the other…. Some fled to villas, others to villages in order to get a change in air. Where there had been no plague, there they carried it; if it was already there, they caused it to increase” (Zahler 45). Another way the plague affected the people and places during the Middle Ages was through schools and education. Many schools were shut down at the time due to health and safety reasons. Many times, due to the significant loss of the population, there were not even enough students or teachers to fill a classroom. Many intellectual and educated scholars died during the plague, too. During our class this semester we watched a movie, Inside the Medieval Mind. This movie was divided into four sections. The section focusing on power laid the foundation for the class system and the inequality. Inequality was normal in the medieval world. Chivalry was greatly enforced, which was a form of caste solidarity. The power portion of this movie portrayed the Black Death plague as an interruption to the typical class system. The Black Death created a labor shortage which resulted in the serfs, who were very low in the class

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