The Black Death Essay

The Black Death Essay

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The Black Death

     Considered one of the worst natural disasters in world history, the Black Death came through Europe in 1347 A.D. It ravaged cities and town, causing a death to the masses, and no one was considered safe. The Plague is any epidemic scourge or calamity for which remedies are difficult to find, and according to the encyclopedia, plague is a common term for a disease of rodents that occasionally cause severe human infection. Named for the black spots that appeared on the victims’ skin, the original disease originated from Oriental Rat Fleas and black rats. It first infected Mongol armies and traders in Asia, and then began moving west with them as they traveled. There was no natural immunity to the disease, and standards of public health and personal hygiene were nearly nonexistent. It is believed that if people had not fled to nearby cities in hopes of escaping the plague, it might not have ever spread like it did. In the end, it passed through Italy, France, England, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Finland, and even up to the island of Greenland. City dwellers were hit the hardest due to the fact of crowded streets and the lack of sanitation. Up until the mid-15th century, recurrent epidemics prevented the recovery of Europe’s population to pre-plague levels. The Black Death was an important turning point for the history of Europe. This time was “the beginning of the end of the medieval period and the start of a social transformation of the continent.” The social and economic impacts of the plague were so huge, economics, politics and the European society would never be the same again.
     The plague took on three different forms, each with its own unique way of killing. The most common, bubonic, was considered the mildest form, with a mortality rate of thirty to seventy-five percent. A person with this would be seen with enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, arm and groin regions, with headaches, nausea, body aches, and a high fever. The pneumonic plague was the second most commonly seen form of the Black Death. Only five percent of its victim’s survived, infecting the lungs, causing a person to cough and vomit blood. The least common form, but most deadly, with a one hundred percent death rate was the septicemic plague. Even today, if a person were to come up with this form of the...


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...omes fell, resulting in the piles of accounts which survived the period of the Black Death. Many villages and hamlets were deserted and never inhabited again. Feudalism seemed to end with the coming of the Black Death, and many believe the two are directly related. Feudalism is known as the system of service in return for a grant of land, burdening the peasant with many obligations to his lord. The payments involved in feudalism were to be paid upon entering any land holdings, marriage, death, or any other occasions by which the individual lord and peasant agree. The plague seemed to speed up this process by dramatically reducing the number of peasants, and communication accelerated the matter.
     Landlords tried their best to keep a cap on the rising wages and changing social ambitions of the peasants, but there was too much chaos in the system at the time. Lords and peasants were both looking for the highest wages they could possibly take. Because of this, no matter who you were before the plague hit Europe, anyone who survived the plague, additional wealth from the rise in wages and accumulated holdings of land hold by plague victims was in store.

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