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Essay about Europe's Response to the Black Death

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During Europe’s boom in trade more advanced ways of cargo shipping and sea travel were developed, but with this advancement also came the transport of disease. The most deadly of these new diseases was the well-known Black Death, which starting in 1347 took its toll on Western Europe. Throughout history, when faced with hard times, the true side of humanity can be seen; during these times humanity often reverts back to their roots whether those be the barbaric or the amiable. During the Black Death civilizations did just that; the chaos stricken communities of Europe responded in various ways some more righteous and beneficial, and others negative and barbaric.
In the time of the Black Death little was known about the disease, doctors were ignorant, and had no means of stopping the pandemic. Though they tried with various “medical” responses, none were successful. Some believed that the root of the plague was “humors,” a system related to the basic elements (earth, water, air and fire), and their unbalance presumably explained various abnormalities. They tried to restore balance by various techniques, some including bloodletting, a gruesome method of draining the blood in an area of the body. Others believed that the plague was a punishment from God and that they were doomed to damnation. Now with modern medical advancement, however, biologists defined the Black Death as the Bubonic plague, which spread via rats and fleas from the new merchant vesicles. In that time, however, people thought that it was spread through direct contact or by breath. The plague manifested itself with repugnant boils, caused by lymphatic swelling, and sometimes coughing up blood. The ghastly state that the Plague left its victims in had a part in...


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