The Plague - The Black Death Essay

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The Black Death

"The Black Death" is known as the worst natural disaster in European history. The plague spread throughout Europe from 1346-1352. Those who survived lived in constant fear of the plague's return and it did not disappear until the 1600s. Not only were the effects devastating at the time of infection, but during the aftermath as well. "The Black Death" of the fourteenth century dramatically altered Europe's social and economic structure.

The plague was spread by fleas, which were not effected by the disease. Fleas first infected the rats, which lived off garbage and sewage. The rats then spread the infection to the humans. Rats were a common sight in the cities, due to the poor sanitary conditions, so no one
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"The Black Death" alone was not the only factor that was responsible for the social and economic change although it was the most important (Ziegler 234). Even without "The Black Death" continued deterioration in Europe would have been likely. The social and economic change had already set in well before 1346. For at least twenty-five years before "The Black Death," exports, agricultural production, and the area of cultivated land had all been shrinking. "The Black Death" contributed a large part to all of this destruction and led to important changes in the social and economic structure of the country (Ziegler 234-235). The plague touched every aspect of social life (Herlihy 19). There was hardly a generation that was not affected by the plague (www.jefferson.village.virginia.edu). Families were set against each other - the well rejecting the sick (www.byu.edu). Families left each other in fear. Many people died without anyone looking after them. When the plague appeared in a house, frightened people abandoned the house and fled to another (www.jefferson.village.virginia.edu). Due to this, the plague spread more rapidly because people were not aware that being in the same house with the infected person had already exposed them to it. Physicians could not be found because they had also died. Physicians who could be found wanted large sums of money before they entered the house (www.jefferson.village.virginia.edu). When the

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