World History

The Black Death Plague of Middle Ages

The moniker “Black Death” refers to a dreadful illness that ravaged Europe between 1347 and 1350. The illness was extremely contagious and had no known treatment.

Where did it begin?

Most likely beginning in Asia, the epidemic moved westward along the Silk Road. Fleas that inhabited rats were the disease’s primary carrier. Historians believe that black rats that were housed aboard European trade ships eventually brought the illness to Europe.

How terrible was it?

It’s difficult to understand how terrifying life was during the Black Death in the Middle Ages. By the time the illness was finished, at least one-third of the population in Europe had perished, and likely more. According to estimates, about 800 people every day passed away in Paris, France. They were unable to bury the dead due to the sheer number of them. To large pits, they had to be carried.

Unfortunately, nobody in the Middle Ages was aware that rats carried the sickness. Due to the abundance of rats, larger towns and cities—which were also quite filthy during the Middle Ages—became particularly deadly. The epidemic occasionally wiped out whole cities or villages.

What did the people do?

As one might anticipate, there was anxiety. Many people believed the world was about to end. People tried to hide inside their homes by locking their doors. This wasn’t much use, though, in urban areas where rats and their accompanying fleas were rife. In an effort to stop the epidemic, they even set fire to homes and even entire communities.

The Black Death

We now refer to this illness as the bubonic plague. Today, very few people contract the illness, and those who do typically make a full recovery. In the Middle Ages, those who contracted the illness almost usually passed away. People would become quite ill, developing blue and black spots all over their bodies.

Rebuilding After the Black Death

When the Black Death eventually died down, much of Europe’s infrastructure was destroyed. Europe had to rebuild, on average, for about 150 years.

The Black Death: Facts

Many individuals believed that the Black Death was God’s retribution.

Between 75 million and 200 million individuals are thought to have perished from the pandemic.

According to some scientists, the sickness was brought on by the bacteria Yersinia pestis.

It took a long time before the disease was given the name “Black Death.” Some believe the name “Black” refers to how the disease’s late stages caused the skin to darken, although it was more likely chosen to depict the period of history’s darkness and horror.

Some people believed that the epidemic was brought on by foul air pockets generated by earthquakes. Some even went so far as to say that Jews were responsible for spreading the plague that killed Christians.

Numerous times, the pandemic hit Europe again, but it wasn’t as devastating as it was during the Black Death era.