During the Middle Ages in Europe there was an ever increasing demand for exotic goods from the East. Traders and merchants would follow the trade routes to and from the far East to bring back perfumes, rice, cotton, wine, salt, fish, lemons, and mirrors (Travel and Trade). Unfortunately along with the goods the traders also carried a deadly affliction that would soon spread all over Europe. Causing one of the greatest pandemics in recorded history was the tiny rat flea (Kugler, 2009). Jumping from host to host and rodent to rodent the disease engulfed Europe in a period of less than fifteen years, and killed an estimated 25 million people within this relatively short period of time (The Black Death, 1348). It moved swiftly carried by rodents and was easily transmitted to humans due to the living conditions of the time. The effects of the bubonic plague pandemic, also called Black Plague or Black Death, that spread across Europe during the mid-14th century was profound. No massive pandemic before or since has caused such great numbers of casualties in such a short period of time. This was due to the living conditions at the time and the virulent nature of the causative organism Yersinia pestis (Kugler, 2009. Whereas up until this time the rich and elite classes of citizenry had been largely able to escape untimely death, disease, and famine that afflicted the poor disproportionately, the plague knew no boundaries and was an indiscriminate killer.
The Killer Comes to Europe
Although this was not the first time that the citizens of Europe had dealt with an outbreak of the plague, this time was inarguably the most devastating. In the years leading up to this pandemic many factors in European countries made i...
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...ern Civilization. Boise State University. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from: http://www.boisestate.edu/courses/westciv/plague/
Kugler, M. (2009). How is bubonic plague spread? Retrieved July 12, 2010 from: http://rarediseases.about.com/od/bubonicplagueandpictures/f/bubonicspread.htm
"The Black Death, 1348," Eye Witness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2001) Retrieved June 23, 2010, from: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/plague.htm
Snell, M. (2009). The spread of the black death through Europe: A series of maps. Retrieved July 10, 2010, from: http://historymedren.about.com/od/theblack death/a/black_death_maps.htm
TED. Case Studies: The Role of Trade in Transmitting the Black DeathRetrieved July 15, 2010 from: http://www1.american .edu/TED/bubonic.htm
Travel and Trade. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from: http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/history/middleages/trade.html
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