Black Death Kills Thousands

by Ashlyn Beech

Black Death Plague

Dead bodies are scattered along the streets of Europe, waiting to be carted off and disposed of. Black Death left many people dead in the fourteenth century. The Black Death may have killed many people, but it made Europe stronger.

Black Death Spreads by Fleas

Black Death, also known as the Bubonic Plague, spread across Europe in 1346, killing one-fifth of the world's population. The epidemic spread like wildflower, killing anyone who crossed its path. It was caused by the Bacterium Yersinia pestis, carried by wild rodents. The hungry fleas, carried by the rodents, turned on humans after the rodents died. They bit the humans in areas like the armpit, thigh, or neck. The bite swelled into a painful bubo, or welt, and turned black (which is how the plague got it's name "Black Death"). A few days after the bite swelled into a bubo, they would become ill and die.

Bubonic Plague Symptoms

The Bubonic Plague first seems like a bad cold. It's later followed by a high fever, vomiting, and painful back swellings. If the back swellings burst, they had a chance to live, though in most cases, their body got so worn down from infection that they ended up dying. In the time of the plague, everyone became worried, so they hid in their houses. Staying in their homes only made it worse because the infection didn't spread from human to human like they thought. The deathly plague was spread by getting bitten by infected fleas or getting bites or scratches from the wild rodents hiding in their homes.

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Better Life After the Plague

Two hundred years after Black Death was over, people were healthier. The weak died from plague so only the strong were left. They had better living conditions because with less people, there was more to go around. Food prices decreased and wages increased after the plague was over. People became healthier and were able to live a better life. There was more food available, so they were able to thrive. Not only was there more food, but there was also more land and jobs. With more land, they were able to start over with a new job and life.

The Plague's Impact on the European Culture

The plague had a massive impact on the European's culture. Art and literature revolved around the death and destruction caused by Black Death. The people of Europe turned to faith after the plague. They believed that only the wrath of God could have caused so much pain and suffering as a punishment for sinning. To remove themselves from the punishment of the plague, they would pray to their God, asking for forgiveness of their sins. After not getting answers to their prayers, they started to doubt their believes, which soon lead to rebellion. They would go to banquets in flashy clothing and gamble and drink.
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**Fun Fact:

"Ring around the rosy,

A pocket full of posies,

Ashes, ashes,

We all fall down."

This rhyme sung by little children is about Black Death. The "ring of roses" represents the swollen buboes around the neck's of the infected. The "posies" represents the flowers people kept in their pockets. They hoped the flowers would protect them from the disease. The "ashes" represent the dead and the "falling down" everyone dying of the plague. The whole song represents everyone dying in the time of the Bubonic Plague.

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Bubonic Plague Now- Preventing Black Plague Recurrence

Since the late nineteenth century, there have been vaccines for the Bubonic Plague. The vaccine, like most vaccines, isn't 100% effective. The vaccination routine is very complex and requires frequent boosters (multiple shots over time) to be effective. The vaccine reduces the risk of getting the plague and helps keep it from getting out of control if you were to get it. Those who live in western Texas, parts of the world where the plague is still happening, and people around rodents are more at risk than others to get the plague. The plate is able to recur, but luckily with vaccinations and modern technology, the plague won't return easily.
The past, present and future of the bubonic plague - Sharon N. DeWitte


The Black Death Actually Improved Public Health. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2015, from

The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2015, from

The past, present and future of the bubonic plague - Sharon N. DeWitte. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2015, from