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The Black Death & Bubonic Plague World and Medieval History

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

How the disease spread and the Medieval World was affected

The Black Death or the Bubonic Plagueand its Medieval World history and origins
The deadly disease has been with man and part of world and medieval history for a very long time. It has claimed nearly 200 MILLION lives. The first recorded epidemic of the Black Death / Bubonic Plague was in Europe during the 6th Century. The disease truly became pandemic in 1328 - the medieval period of the history of the world. During this period a third of the world population died. We tend to associate the history of this terrible disease with Europe however it originated in the Gobi Desert. 

The Spread of the disease
The disease spread throughout the Western world and reached  pandemic proportions due to changes in lifestyle - people were moving from the country villages to highly populated towns. The formation of major cities and increased travel by various world civilisations, the disease rapidly spread throughout Asia. The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) followed the Trade Routes. The Trade routes provided access to all corners of the known world. The increased use of the trade routes ensured that the disease spread throughout the World. We should also remember that it was not just Europe and Africa that were devastated by the deadly disease. Countries such as China suffered horrendously from the 1328 outbreak with their population dropping from 125 million to 90 million during just the middle half of 14th century. 

How the Black Death or the Bubonic Plague spread throughout Europe
The disease initially followed Caravan routes and then, with aid of European Shipping and the accompanying rats, by 1346 arrived in the Crimea. The spread of the disease had started throughout the known world. Within 12 months the spread of the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) had devastated Constantinople. The illness moved to Alexandria in the Autumn of 1347 and within 6 months of the initial outbreak 1000 people were dying every day in that city alone. Two months later the toll in Cairo was exceeding 7500 people who were dying every day. Obviously, with such high mortality rates it was not uncommon for a whole town, or city, to become depopulated. Such rates explain how the population of the World fell to such low levels. The relatively few survivors, quite naturally attempted to flee whenever the deadly virus spread to their area. But the survivors took the Black Death / Bubonic Plague with them and thus the disease spread even further by both land and sea. Even small islands , like Sicily, were also contaminated by the spread of the disease. By the end of 1346 the spread of the illness had reached mainland Europe. The Eastern part of Europe was not hit until the following year and Russia did not succumb to the deadly spread until 1351. For the next 60 years the virus devastated all of Europe. The spread of the illness followed every one of the many new Trade Routes which had been opened due to outbreaks of the disease polluting the existing routes. These Trade Routes ensured the spread of the Black Death / Bubonic Plague throughout the world. There was no hiding place.

Black Death 1348-1350

World Communities devastated by the Black Death or the Bubonic Plague and the deadly consequences of the Disease
The western world farming communities were devastated by the spread of the disease. It became common place to see livestock abandoned, their owners overtaken by the spread of the Black Death / Bubonic Plague. Livestock and people perished. This decline of the farming communities resulted in food shortages. A major consequence of the disease was famine - and even more people perished. Surviving populations of villages and towns were forced to move or starve to death. World demographics totally altered due to the spread of the disease. And the spread still continued. The Black Death / Bubonic Plague was therefore carried by starving people and spread to even more new areas. The world was gripped by a cycle of disease followed by famine...

The Modern Day Black Death and Bubonic Plague
We are all concerned about the spread of such a disease in the modern day world. 

  • Is the disease still with us today and what is the treatment?

  • Three ways of killing people - Bubonic, Septicemic and Pneumonic

  • Symptoms

  • The Modern Medical Treatment and Cure

  • A Sinister Nursery Rhyme

  • Lasting memories in England - the effects and consequences live on

Click the following link for information on the disease and the risks to the world in the 21st Century

The Black Death / Bubonic Plague - Symptoms, consequences, cure and medical treatment in Elizabethan London
Black Death and Bubonic Plague -  Modern day symptoms, cure and medical treatment
The Spread of the Black Death & Bubonic Plague World History
William Shakespeare Index
Plague / Black Death Index

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