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The Effects of the Plague

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During the Middle Ages, trade flourished across Europe. Thousands of people would gather at various ports to wait for ships to return from foreign places carrying an assortment of exotic foods and goods. “In October 1347, trading ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina after a long journey through the Black Sea” (Roos, 41). Greeters and spectators, who were waiting anxiously for exotic goods, discovered something horrid instead. A majority of the sailors on board were deceased and the small remainder who had survived the trip were quickly dying as well. The ships brought back more than just goods and food items from China. They hosted flea-infested rats, which is the primary source of the bubonic plague. The bubonic plague, or ‘The Black Death’ forever altered the course of European history. The horrific plague encited a sequence of social, religious, and economic devastation, and ultimately killed over a third of Europe’s population.
The Black Death rapidly spread all over Europe and Asia, inciting great fear and hysteria. Victims of the Black Death suffered excruciating symptoms such as high fevers, an inability to digest food, and hallucinations due to the intense physical suffering. People inflicted with the disease developed black boils that secreted pus and blood, which is how the plague got its infamous name. “The epidemic ravaged the population for the next five years, killing more than 20 million people in Europe, almost one third of the continent’s population” (Plague, 2).
Yersinia Pestis is a bacterium found in fleas that can be transferred to host rats and can eventually be spread to humans. Antibiotics, immunizations, and other medical treatments weren’t available during the Middle Ages, so there was not ...

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...scoveries were made despite the adversary faced by the people, particularly in the medical field. The generations following the age of the plague have benefitted, to an extent, from the goodness that has stemmed from such an evil.

Works Cited

Carmichael, Ann. "Plague." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. Ed. Jonathan Dewald. Vol. 4. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004. 490-493. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
"Plague." Renaissance: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. Paul F. Grendler. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004. 172-174. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Roos, Anna Marie E. "Plague, Early History." Infectious Diseases: In Context. Ed. Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 627-634. In Context Series. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.