Middle Ages: Black Death Plague

There are alot of important events when it comes to the Middles Ages but I believe that the most important one was the Black Death. Some of the many reasons why I strongly believe that it is important is, it has very interesting back story like its origin and how it first arrive in Europe at that time,the amount of people it killed during the Middle Ages, the major impact it had at the time whether it be economical environmental or even the world impact left long after the disease.The Black Death had plenty of names during its time such as the Bubonic Plague some even called it the blue sickness or how I call it the Black Plague.This sickness was a very major sickness that some say killed around 30-50 percent of the population some people believe it kill even more during its reign of terror the lasted around 4 years,1347-1351,during the Middle Age.

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When it comes to the Black Death it wasn’t your ordinary disease this disease has an extremely high mortality rate”certain varieties can have a mortality rate of over ninety-nine percent. this disease managed to pretty much kill everyone and leaving you with only a one percent chance to survive, you have a higher chance of getting accepted to some of the top schools in the Ivy League like Brown or Harvard which both have an eight percent acceptance rate, then surviving this Disease.The Black Death was a very painful disease, one of the first signs of the Plague would be the swelling of your Lymph Nodes whether it be on any side of your neck, under your armpit, behind your ears and sometimes even under your groin, this really depends on where you got bitten by the flea.For example if you got bitten in the neck that is where the lymph nodes will swell. Not only will your lymph nodes swell but they will also turn black, and some say that they would swell up to be the size of a golf ball or an egg. Following the swelling a couple days later you would start to bleed a lot interior and exterior by coughing, you would bleed so much that you would get black spots on your body,also you would start to feel like you’re getting a Fever, feeling weak and get the chills. It was basically like getting the Flu today just with lot of bleeding. It did not just stop there when it came to the Black Death, there was two forms of the plague going around at the time. Those two types were called Bubonic and Pneumonic, the Bubonic was spread through Black rats with fleas and these fleas would bite humans and spread the bacteria whereas pneumonic was spread throughout one was lungs by coughing kind of like the flu or the common cold.

There are many theories to the origin of this disease and how it came to Europe during the Middle Ages but the main reasoning on how it originally came to europe that most scholars believe caused the disease to spread where from rats. These rats are not your ordinary Black rats that had already live in the merchant ships but, these Black rats that came, were sick and went on merchant ships when they were in Central Asia. Once these black rats where on the ship they spread the disease through fleas that they had. Eventually on October of 1347 after all the travelling on these merchants ships these Back Rats with fleas carrying the disease officially arrived in Europe. Just like what caused the disease to arrive in europe around the Middle ages, many people back in the middle ages had different many beliefs on what caused the Black Death to happen in the first place, For example some believed that the Black death happened because of God while the much more wealthier people believed that it was because of the poor and the very unsanitary way that they had to live. However what really caused this horrific disease was not from the poor or rich but rather from a Bacteria called Yersinia pestis that come from rottens such as rats, like I mentioned earlier the way that these disease was obtainable was from Black Rats that brought it from Central Asia around the late 1340s. How one would obtain the disease is that once the Black Rat with the bacteria had died the fleas will jump on to the Human and then biting them eventually spreading the disease throughout the body. There is a theory out there that it wasn’t the fleas from the rats that would bite the humans but rather the fleas that come from humans would go on the rats than back and bite the human.

Another reason why the Black Death was such important event during the Middle Ages is because during its reign of terror the Black Death killed a ton of people, It was the first outbreak of medieval plague in Europe, and it killed tens of millions of people, an estimated 30“50 percent of the European population, between 1347“1351 (DeWitte 1). There was around 450 million people around that time therefore that means that the population would have shrunk form 450 million to around 315 million to 250 million people, even if it turns out that only 30 percent of Europe’s population died from the Black Death during the middle ages, the number of people that would have died from the plague if it was only 30 percent would still be more than any war that either happen before or even after the Middle Ages. With all this death toll, it took a toll on a ton of different things and impact the way of life for people especially the poor and lower class people. One of the ways things that it Impacted was the lower class people and serfdoms. Since there was so much people dying from the Black Death, there was large numbers of jobs but very little people to do those jobs, therefore the poor people or peasant were aloud to work and climb the social ladder.Another thing that was caused by all the deaths from the Black Death was that since around 30-50 percent of the population was dead there was more food for the people.

One more important factor on why the Black Death was so Important during the Middle Ages was because of the people that got the plague and somehow managed to survive and also those who tried to help others by trying to find cures or treatments for the plague. There were many things that people were doing to try to do to treat and/or cure the plague one way that people in the Middle Ages would do is try to change their diets a bit, such as avoid eating rotten meats and eat more fresh food like vegetables also they would add certain food more into their daily diet like herbs, rue garlic and onion. Another approach that was very popular was that they would use to try cure the Black Death would be using antidotes. The antidote they would use would be Theraic which was A complex compound, made of multiple ingredients (Fabbri 248). This antidote took a lot of of ingredients to make around eighty, one of the main ingredients that they would put a lot of would be opium, opium which originates from opium poppy is used to make heroin today, therefore the antidote would help reduce the pain of the Black Death, so I can see why they would use a lot of this in the antidote as well as it being very popular since opium is very addictive. One of the the main methods that they would do to try a stop the spreading of the plague and contain it, especially the Pneumonic plague, since it would spread by air like a common cold, would be quarantine. An example of this will be if there was a certain place that had people getting the plague,they would keep those people in a certain area where no one will come in contact with them till the plague dies out and has no one to spread too. I believe that the only people that would come in contact would be people who had the plague and survived form it or people who wear heavily covered kind of like wearing todays Hazmat suit.

After all these trail and errors during the years of the Black Death reign of terror, on how they fought and containing the disease was so important because it would help other people way after the disease swept through Europe during the Middles Ages on what to do to stop spreading and trying cure the Disease an example of this is Then, in 1994, an outbreak of plague erupted in India. This time, armed with scientific knowledge, officials knew what to do. Plague victims were quarantined, or kept away from healthy individuals. Millions of tablets of tetracycline, an antibiotic that kills Yersinia pestis, were distributed.(Day 24) They already knew what the disease was so the spread of it was a lot easier to be contained and they were able to quarantine people, unlike in the Middles Ages where it was the first time that most of the people ever heard or saw this disease, no one was really being careful trying to quarantine the sick form the non sick really before it was too late. Another thing is that if it were for the for the outbreak in the MIddle Ages no one would know what happen caused the Disease therefore they knew what cause so they could get rid of the rats and kill them before it effected even more people or since the outbreak occurred during the 1300s it gave scientist plenty of time to due research and fight a vaccine or antibiotic to help fight the disease by killing the the bacteria. Not only did it help fight outbreaks that occurred after the Middle Ages like the one in India in 1994 but due to the Black Death it is helping modern Medicine Find a reason why did some survived without the use of antibiotic or a vaccine. Well they are doing this study they found that the people survive have something called Delta 32 which helped them them fight the disease off. The find is very important to modern medicine because it can help protect people from AIDs and maybe also some other big plague that may happen a couple of years from now. Another Impactful reasons why the Black Death was so important during the Middle Ages was because not only did the Black Death Impact the poor because of the mass drop in population but the plague also had an impact to the economy and the environment. Since there was a mass of amount of deaths, there was more land available for sale so much that the prices of Land started to drop in price. Since there was no as much people as before the demand of workers started to go up, thus leading to the wages rising. Since there was so little peasants working and in households then ever before, less people were paying taxes.

All in all the Black Death was one of the most Important events during the Middle Ages with its interesting origin and the reign of terror it had for those four years ,and also the importance it had with the impact it had whether it be shortly after the plague with its impact on the environment and the economy or the impact it has had long after it’s break like helping scientist on why people survived and some of the trails and errors the people of the Middle ages would try to due to either treat or cure the Black Death. Eventually leading to scientist using the knowledge that they found on why people might of survived to try and help people fight a disease that they like AIDs or other Plagues.

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Middle Ages: Black Death Plague. (2019, Jul 11). Retrieved December 10, 2022 , from

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