Essay on The Black Death

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The Black Death was an extensive epidemic that spread across Europe from 1346 to 1353, killing over an estimated one-third of Europe’s entire population (Medieval World 56). Although historians are not entirely sure of its origin, the Black Death spread quickly across both Europe and Asia with a death toll that augmented rapidly. The plague also had unusual and deadly symptoms, causing “panic everywhere, with men and women knowing no way to stop death except to flee from it” (Kohn 28). The chaos created by the malevolent force of the Black Death impacted the society of Europe as a whole. Despite the extent of the Black Death, we know surprisingly little of it (Cartwright and Biddiss 38); however, historians have presented numerous theories …show more content…
The bubonic plague was the main contender of the Black Death (Byrne 15-16) which was primarily spread through the bacteria Yersinia pestis found in the stomach (Corbishley 47) of the Xenopsylla cheopis, a common flea (Byrne 197). The flea would then feed on a host’s blood, and regurgitate the bacteria into the host, causing the victim to become infected the bubonic plague (Nox). The Rattus rattus, or black rat, is considered to have helped the spread of the Black Death by carrying the fleas that carried the bacteria causing bubonic plague (Byrne 196). Upon infection of the bubonic plague, a variety of symptoms appeared quite quickly. During the first few days, victims would develop a headache, chills, a fever, weakness, an increased pulse, and a white tongue. As the disease progressed, red and black spots, also called gangrene, appeared due to the body’s tissue dying, and buboes, swollen lymph nodes filled with blood, puss, and bacteria, appeared on the victim’s groin, neck, and arm pits (Zahler 26-27). As the plague progressed, the bacteria began running rampant throughout the victim’s body, eventually developing pneumonic plague, a plague within the lungs (Cartwright and Biddiss 30). The symptoms of pneumonic plague mirror the symptoms of en exceptionally virulent pneumonia. Bubonic

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