The Black Death was the most horrific natural disaster or pandemic that appeared across a few parts of the world in the middle ages. The Black Death was actually a devastating plague called Bubonic plague that affected and killed millions of people in Europe and Asia. In 1344, the bubonic plague broke out in China and India. The situation was quite similar to that of the present Corona pandemic. It was also spread from foreign sources. Readers will find some similarities between this 14th-century devastating plague with that of present-day COVID-19.
The disease affected Europe in 1347. The disease came from Asia. The disease caused great damage to a Mongol army who was fighting in the Crimea region that is, the southern part of Russia. The disappointed Mongols threw the dead bodies of soldiers over the walls of a fortress that was defended by Italians. When the Italians were sailing home to Crenoa, they carried the disease from the soldiers with them. From these Italians, the disease called Bubonic plague was passed to the rest of Europeans. In summer 1348, the disease affected southern England and it spread to London in the winter. Next year, it spread to Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Germany, Spain, and Russia. In 1350, this pandemic reached Scandinavia.
The disease was called Bubonic plague and it usually passed to humans from infected rats through flea bites. The black rats carried the fleas that transmitted the disease. There were rats on the ships that traveled from port to port and as the infected rats moved, the disease spread at a tremendous rate. Also, there were rats and fleas in every town and in most of the houses during the medieval period. Poor sanitation and rubbish in the streets, poor hygiene made the towns suitable for breeding for the disease. As a result of the spread of the disease, many towns lost half of their population and as a result of the huge death rate, some villages became vacant i.e., without any lives. The name ‘Black Death’ came from the appearance of black spots on infected patients. In the infected patients, swellings developed in their armpits and groin. They coughed up blood. Many people got affected and died on the same day. In the medieval period, Medical science was not so much developed as of today, and there were no such vaccines or medicines to cure the disease. The Science of Microbiology was not born at that time. So, at that time, the doctors didn't know where the disease spread at a fast rate and how to cure the disease. They also didn't know why the disease affected so many people. Neither the governments nor doctors could find a solution for the situation. Many frightened people fled from the patients and leave them to die. The patients had to die alone. The people used to draw a cross(X) symbol on the doors of the houses where the disease had struck. So, the rest got alerted and could avoid the houses. These pictures depict the early form of so-called today’s ‘isolation’ or ‘quarantine’. There were carts who carried out the dead bodies.
Also, there were many Christians who thought that the epidemic was a punishment from God and some of them took themselves on the street, whipping themselves as a penance for the sins so that they could get rid out of their sins. The disease of Bubonic plague spread from China in Asia to Scandinavia in northern Europe. As the disease spread, the panic-stricken people fled from the towns and wherever they went, the plague also spread with them. By 1353, one-third of the population or 25 million people died in Europe. there was no one left in the villages and the fields where overgrown. Many priests of churches died. The priests were the only people who were educated at that time. In England, half of the monks and nuns died, and in a year three archbishops of Canterbury died.
This repeated plague attacked the whole of Europe in the 14th century. This Black Death or Bubonic plague took the lives of a huge number of people. As a result of this plague, there was a shortage of people to work in factories or in the farming land. The leftover workers protested for a high rise in wages. The result of unrest over wages and taxes led to many uprisings in Europe. In 1358, there was a peasant’s uprising in northern France. This uprising was savagely put down. In 1381, there was a peasant’s revolt in England, which was led by Wat Tyler. In this revolt, a riot broke out in the southern part of England i.e. in Essex and Kent. The further outbreaks of the Black Death continued up to 1400 or more.
So this was the horrible condition of Europe during the period of the Black Death epidemic disease. The condition was very poor due to a lack of proper medical guidance, consciousness, and hygiene. Along with these, Medical science was too underdeveloped. As a result of all these, we have come across that there was an economical crisis and also there was a huge crisis in human resources.