Chapter 21 - The Bubonic Plague

By: Lauren Stukey and Mary Ziperman

What Is It?

The Bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of mankind. It killed over 20 million people. It was a disease that was carried in the bloodstreams of rats who had fleas. It began in China, spreading along trade routes, throughout China, into India then Egypt and continued beyond to other countries. The population of China decrease by 10 million from 1300 to 1400. Europe became infected cause its population to decline by 25 percent.

Why Is It Significant?

This event was the most significant because it had the largest impact on the largest amounts of people. Millions of lives were lost to this plague and it lead to many changes in the cultural, economical, and religious aspects of each region in this era. (Will be described below)

Why Is It Unique

The Bubonic Plague or Black Death is the most unique because it was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. It is something that is still unbelievable and hard to imagine in today's world. To this day, the Bubonic Plague is known as one of the deadliest diseases that spread throughout the world and that is what makes it so unique.

Interaction Between Humans and the Environment

Rats carried the disease, giving it to humans. Trade was the main contribution of the spread of the Black Death. Nearly a third of the European people had died. The disease began so bad that it caused the air to be infected. A simple interaction between two people could be deadly because of the transfer of the disease through the air. The interaction between humans was terrible. People spat up blood, and it killed people either immediately or over a period of two to three days.
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Development and Interaction of Cultures

As the disease started to spread throughout China, it eventually went beyond the Chinese borders and traveled along the silk roads into India, Egypt, into Europe and beyond. As it spread into those other countries, it had many impacts on the culture, religion, and economy. The art and literature of this time period took a dark theme as parts of the world suffered from this epidemic. Also, as many people got sick, the Church could not save these peoples lives causing may Europeans and others to question their faith. Lastly, in all of the places the bubonic plague spread to, due to the extreme loss of people, many population drastically decreased causing there to be an abundance of goods, lower prices, a surplus of jobs, and more.

State Building, Expansion, and Conflict

The terrible catastrophe caused major problems. It spread so rapidly that entire towns and villages were wiped out in days. There was no expansion during the plague, more so, a decrease in almost everything because of the dramatic effect of the population decline. People were terrified for their own lives so they would seek shelter and minimize any human interaction to help prevent get the disease.

Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems

Workers in Western Europe demanded a higher wage. The authorities of the people did not change their ways, causing rebellion of the people. The rebellions showed how serious the mortality had disrupted social and economic relations. It lead to a decline of economic growth. Lots of resources, land and capital goods were unused because of the decline of the population. There were many people that were unemployed, searching for jobs. An increase in resource costs because there was less of a supply of labor. There were fewer buyers in the market causing the prices of things, such as horses or ox, to become lower. After the plague, there were many things that changed. Labor shortages were very severe so wages were rising naturally. There was an end to serfdom, which was the status of peasants under feudalism. Peasants were no longer tied to the lands. There was an increase standard of living for people who served the plague.
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