The Black Death

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The Black Death

The Black Death had profound effects on Medieval Europe. Although most people did not realize it at the time, the Black Death had not only marked the end of one age but it also denoted the beginning of a new one, namely the Renaissance.

Between 1339 and 1351a.d, a pandemic of plague called the Black Death, traveled from China to Europe affecting the importance of cities, creating economic and demographic crises, as well as political dislocation and realignment, and bringing about powerful new currents in culture and religion.

In the beginning, the Italian town of Genoa was one of the busiest ports in Europe. Ships sailed from there to trade all over the Mediterranean Sea. In October of 1347, 12 merchant ships sailed from Caffa to Italy. A strange disease had infected the crew of these ships. Dying bodies lay aboard the ships. City officials, afraid that the disease might spread, issued an order that no person or piece of merchandise was to leave the ships. They even forbade medical treatment for the sick sailors and passengers. The disease still spread. The officials had not considered that the rats from the ships were able to leave the ships by crawling along the ropes that were tied to the ships. From Italy, the disease spread all over Europe, traveling along the major trade routes. The rats were responsible for carrying the disease, which was transmitted by fleas from infected rats. The fleas drank the rats' blood that carried the bacteria. The bacteria multiplied in the flea's gut. While the fleas gut was clogged with bacteria, the flea bit the human and regurgitated blood into the wound.

The Black Death came in 3 forms: the bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic. Each different from of the plague killed people in a vicious way. All forms were caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis.

The bubonic plague was the most commonly seen form of the Black Death. Which had a mortality rate of 30-70%. The symptoms were enlarged and inflamed lymph nodes (around armpits, neck and groin). The term "bubonic" refers to the characteristic bubo or enlarged lymphatic gland. Victims were subject to headaches, nausea, aching joints, fever of 101-105 degrees, vomiting, and a general feeling of illness. Symptoms took from 1-7 days to appear.

The pneumonic plague was the second most commonly seen form of the Black Deat...

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Lastly, the change in spirituality was one of the major effects of the plague. The Black Death left survivors mourning, depressed, and fearful of its return.

One of the groups that suffered the most was the Christian Church. It lasts prestige, spiritual authority, and leadership over the people. The church promised cures, treatment, and an explanation for the plague. They said it was God's will, but the reason for this awful punishment was unknown. People wanted answers, but the priests and bishops didn't have anything to say. The people abandoned their Christian duties and fled. People prayed to God and begged for forgiveness. After the plague ended, angry and frustrated villagers started to revolt against the church, this caused the churches to be abandoned.

The Black Death changed European history in many ways. Its fatal symptoms took many human lives, and its influenced carried over into many areas of society. People suffered religiously because the disease brought out the darker side of life and made them question God. Europe would not be the same today without these changes brought on through the devastation of the Black Death.

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