The Black Death

By: Riley T. Horner

When

The plague first came around in 1346 and began immediately to spread at an alarming rate, reaching many densely populated areas by 1338. Almost all of western and central Europe was affected by 1350. The disease eventually did die out in 1353

What

Illness started with a headache, followed by fever, chills, and pain. Lymph nodes in the armpits, neck, and groin would sometimes swell as big as apples. Because of the swellings, called buboes, the official name became the bubonic plague. During the first two days of having plague, victims suffer headaches, feel weak and tired, and stagger when trying to walk. The plague caused the buboes by the third day. The skin blackens from internal bleeding normally right before death. Soon, the nervous system collapses and death finally occurs on normally the fifth day. The disease normally lasted about three to four months in individual locations.

Who

It caused absolute terror in whoever survived the plague. 25,000,000 of the 100,000,000 Europeans and Asians living at the time. It killed an entire third of Europe's entire population in only 2 years. Children and the poor suffered higher mortality rates although anyone was vulnerable to it regardless of social status.

Where

No one knows where the plague started however many say it started in places like China, India, Turkey. It followed sea routes across the Black Sea to Constantinople. Further shipping caused it to spread to France and 9 other cities and countries. It moved to previously untouched areas by 1349 such as northern and central France, northern England, all of Ireland, southern Germany, and various other cities all across Germany. It finally died out while being in Europe, north Africa, and western Asia.

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Why

The plague came from a flea known as Xenopsylla cheopis which they spread to rodents and eventually rodents to humans, who consequently spread it to other humans. Due to the primitive medicine they had they had absolutely no way to suppress it. It also spread much more rapidly on sea than on land ironically due to people trying to flee it.