Effects Of The Black Death Essay


The plague had taken so many human lives that none of the wars did. Now many think this is just one of the diseases which can be treated. But imagine 14th and 15th century, the fear on faces of people that appeared after the word “plague”. Coming from Asia, the Black Death in Europe killed a third of the population. In 1346 – 1348 year in Western Europe was raging the bubonic plague.  25 million people died.

The cause of its retreat could be three factors:

  1. The fire of London
  2. The changing of the seasons
  3. An improved sanitation

So, let’s find out what was true from this Black Death essay.

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How did it begin?

I will start the Black Death essay with the short history. Some scientists say that Black Death got its name through the dark purple and black spots that appeared on the body of the sufferer or that exposed on the body of the dead from this disease. It kept in the slavery the Western civilization for several generations. In the summer of 1346 in Europe were alarming reports from the East. Merchants conducted business with the people that were bringing spices and tea from India and China and that told horrible stories which nobody believed at first. But then there were also witnesses. They testified that there began a “punishment from God”, that people die in three days, they were covered with painful sores and spots, and they became black immediately after death.

  • By 1346 it had reached the Caucasus and the Crimea.
  • A terrible disease that was leaving on the bodies black as coal spots appeared first in the Taurian Peninsula and spread around the coast of Pontus, then it has penetrated into Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, Italy, Mediterranean Islands, Egypt, Libya, Judea, Syria.  
  • In the autumn of 1347 the blow fell on Alexandria and appeared in Marseilles.
  • By the end of 1348, Italy was covered with the plague and its dreadful breath began to be felt in France. The plague came from the depths of Asia and fell upon France meaner than upon all other cities of Europe. Entire townships were deserted and there left only huts. By August, the infection had spread to Switzerland and England, where it was brought by ship from Calais. This ship moored in the port of Dorchester.
  • By the end of 1349, the plague had touched Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and most part of Germany. Norwegian ships brought it to Iceland, where the entire population became extinct.
  • Poland and Russia were contaminated to 1351.

The number of deaths has grown at an astronomical rate. In Italy died half of the population. Victims of the disease were 9 out 10 people in London. In 1348 because of the plague died 1 244 434 residents of Germany. To 1386, in the Russian city, that is called Smolensk now, remained only 5 people.

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Whence it came?

For the first time in the 14th century the Black Death erupted in the Gobi desert approximately in 1320. No one knows why. The germs of plague existed and were active long before the epidemic. I would like to mention in essays on the Black Death that Europe had suffered a plague epidemic in the 6th century also. However, the disease was lurking and nothing reminded about its all that ages. It is known that the Earth’s climate started getting cooler in the 14th century and perhaps this so-called little Ice Age had a direct relation to the plague. As you know, every outbreak always comes out; it means that disease is not local. At that time, the plague moved to the West and it spread in all directions. The peoples of Asia carried the disease very hard. In China, for example, the population decreased from 125 million to 90 million during the 14th century. The plague moved West; on the way of convoys. The plague also came with the trading ships and moved as fast as on land.

What were the symptoms?

As you could understand, the next point of Black Death essays is symptoms of this disease:

  1. When Plague got the human body, it didn’t cause clinical manifestations of the disease from several hours to 3 – 6 days.
  2.  The disease begins suddenly with the rising temperature to 39 – 40 centigrade (102, 2 – 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
  3. There is a strong headache, dizziness, often nausea and vomiting. Patients worried about insomnia and there hallucinations appeared.
  4.  Also, there are black spots on the body and rotting ulcers around the neck.

It is the plague. Did medieval medicine know how to treat it? Let’s look how people treated and fought with the disease:

  • Some doctors pumped blood in big amounts from people who were sick by this disease. It did not help, but rather just killed them.
  • In the later Middle Ages with the plague fought the Great Nostradamus, who told patients that they have to drink spring water, spend time in the fresh air and to consume medication, which he did on the basis of medicinal herbs. Nostradamus fought the plague, but couldn’t save his family. Wife and his two boys died. Soon Nostradamus was accused of heresy and he fled from Italy.
  • French physician De Chauliac dissected abscesses and cauterized the opened wounds by a red-hot poker. This primitive method of cleaning gave the result, if the person did not die of a heart attack, didn’t fall into irreversible shock, and didn’t go crazy because of pain.
  • Also, there was a problem of “poisoned areas” – those places where people died because of the plague. People poured milk in a large shallow dish and left it in the middle of the infested room to absorb the contaminated air.
  • The most effective method of combating with the plague was a tradition to establish in the ports the quarantine for arriving ships. The ships were instructed for 40 days to remain at anchor. It prevented the spread of plague in the towns by the fault of the seamen, but often the ships during this time were deserted, as the infected by plague team died.

It was a hard time for the world when by such monstrous way were reduced the population, including in Europe. The only weapon that could eradicate the plague was sanitation. It was applied only in 1666, when plague suddenly disappeared. Some people believed that the reason for its end was a fire in London, some – changing seasons. But few realized at that time that the reason for the end of plague was soap and water. I hope you liked my essay on the Black Death.

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