The Death Of The Plague

1532 Words7 Pages
Fourteenth century western Europe— already plagued by overpopulation, economic depression, famine, and malnutrition, plummeted into an unprecedented scope of devastation as the bubonic plague annihilated two-fifths of its population. Coined the Black Death in reference to its symptomatic bodily discoloration, the pandemic’s ability to wipe out such a tremendous population is indicative of susceptibility before tragedy even struck. From 1000 to 1300, Europe’s population problematically doubled- consumers overwhelmed the food shortage, and potential employees drastically outnumbered the scarcity of jobs. Crop failures between 1315 and 1317, additionally, perniciously triggered a famine in densely inhabited cities, although Europe in its…show more content…
Scientifically confirmed in the late 19th century, Yersinina pestis, a bacterium found in rats and their parasitic fleas, traveled from Asian ships along trade routes to Europe. Westward, an outbreak first appeared in Constantinople in 1346, reached Sicily by 1347, then the Italian ports of Venice Genoa, and Pisa a year later in 1348; it thereafter swept through Spain, southern France, and northern Europe rapidly with death at the doorstep, and sporadically reappeared in the following decades. Originally theorized to only spread as an infected flea bit its victim, such an inefficient technique of transmission contradicted the disease’s sudden spread, eventually propelling an additional, airborne culprit. As the bubonic plague infiltrated a host’s lungs, it induced sneezing and coughing that extensively circulated through an area and increased disease exposure. Infected, yet seemingly healthy citizens also moved to clean towns, the vast majority of the living existed under unsanitary conditions, and misinformed physicians practiced either adiaphorous or detrimental treatments, heightening the magnitude of fatalities. In short, although the bubonic plague historically entered through flea-bearing rats that inhabited Asian trading ships on their way to Europe, and aggressively viraled through the air once docked, the naive fourteenth century society reveled in uncovering alternative “causes” for the plague, and distinctly responded to
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