Making a grand entrance into Europe in the mid 1300’s, the Black Death took almost one third of the continent’s population, with numbers exceeding twenty million people. The devastating epidemic sprung from a strand of the Bubonic plague that infected twelve ships docked in Messina, venturing from the Black Sea. When docked, majority of the sailors living on the boats were found to be dead, those who managed to say alive did not last much longer. The drastic change in population caused significant changes for the citizens of Europe as they entered the Late Middle Ages.
Gruesome symptoms began to take over the internal operations and external appearance of the body. Symptoms spread in a fast manner, making the plague one of the most contagious diseases to ever attack the world. Once infected, it was likely to experience headaches, fevers, chills, and eventually fatigue, all normal symptoms of any day-to-day virus. After developing the basics, symptoms got a little more unique and developed into an aching of the entire body. On top of all of these, the patient would then notice swellings which consisted of hard, painful, and burning lumps on the neck, under the arms, and on inner thighs. Without much time passing, these swellings turned into large black growths that would then begin to ooze fluids, such as pus and blood, at a random rate. These extreme symptoms would soon become fatal due to the internal bleeding most were known to cause. Moments before the plague took over the body one final time, it created a unique stench that stemmed from different parts of rotting body. The most common way this dreaded disease was spread throughout Fourteenth Century Europe was through a series of flea bites.
These fleas, having ingested plague infected blood from their hosts would often attempt to feed on other victims, invariably injecting some of the infected blood into its new host, resulting in the Bubonic Plague. Once infected, one could infect others through airborne pathogens in close quarters of those who remained healthy up until that point. Due to the rapid transmission rate, the few doctors that dared to come face to face with the Black Death wore a beak-like mask filled with aromatic items to fight off the deadly disease. Fourteenth Century Europe was devastated. Religious, social, and economic riots took place and left a permanent mark in European history, this including the end of feudalism in Europe. The citizens decided that tomorrow remained unpromised, so they lived each day in the moment. The population decrease brought mostly favorable results to the surviving people in Western Europe. Land was plentiful and the innovation of labor-saving technologies became the first major movement after the plague. The Black Plague will not be forgotten anytime soon. As one of the worst diseases to ever create an epidemic of this severity, the Black Death remains engraved in the history of Europe along with the troubles and upheavals that came with it.
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