Black Plague The Epidemic Of European Fourteenth Century History Essay


The paper examines the eruption of Bubonic pestilence, popularly known as Black Death that plagued Europe during the 14th century. The paper begins with an debut, and so the causes of the pestilence are tackled. The symptoms of the paper are besides discussed. The paper concentrates on the effects of the pestilence as they have a batch of historical significance. The decision relates the pestilence and subsequent turbulence in Europe.

Black Death: The Epidemic of European Fourteenth Century


The Black Death that occurred between1348 and 1350 in Europe was one of the most destructive pandemics in history of the mediaeval universe. Medical microbiologists believe that the pandemic was really an eruption of Bubonic Plague brought byYersinia Pestis, a unsafe bacteria. Historians working together with medical archivists believe that the Black Death originated in China, and traveled through the Silk Road to Crimea in 1346. Oriental rat fleas from black rats that were on a regular basis spotted on merchandiser ships are believed to hold brought the disease to Europe and the Mediterranean ( Moneckea, Moneckeb and Moneckec 2009, 583-87 ) .

The Black Death killed about40 % of Europe & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s population. This had the consequence of cut downing the population of the universe from 450 million to around 375 million in 1400. The Black Death caused political, spiritual, societal and economic turbulences in the mediaeval universe. These turbulences shaped the class of European History. Historians station that it took around 150 old ages for Europe to retrieve from the lay waste toing effects of the Black Death ( Moneckea, Moneckeb and Moneckec 2009, 583-87 ) .

Background to the Epidemic

Historians post that a meeting of factors contributed to the pestilence in Europe. The pestilence hit Europe at a clip when the Continent was on the throes of economic and societal trials. Geographic alterations had caused economic and migratory turbulences all over the continent. The warm period ended in Europe towards the terminal of the 13 century. It brought the small ice age with terrible winters that drastically reduced crops, peculiarly wheat crops. Technological innovations like the three field system and the heavy Big Dipper did non give much in uncluttering fallow land for cultivation in Northern Europe as in Southern Europe. This brought about nutrient deficits and quickly increasing nutrient monetary values ( Moneckea, Moneckeb and Moneckec 2009, 583-87 ) . The nutrient deficits led to monolithic malnutrition in Europe. Malnutrition increases the susceptibleness of people to infections. Heavy rains begun to fall in 1314 ushering in long periods of cold and moisture winters. This had the consequence of weakening the crops of the North which was followed by the seven twelvemonth drouth. The sovereign of Europe, who controlled authorities instituted steps that prohibited the export of nutrient. The northern lands like England in Scotland were unable to import nutrient because of those limitations. To do affairs worse, they were engaged in war. This reduced their capableness in managing the Black Death when it struck ( Moneckea, Moneckeb and Moneckec 2009, 583-87 ) .

Causes of Black Death

Historians have identified several possible causes of the pestilence. Most argue that the pestilence was caused by the bubonic infection. The implicit in statement is that the disease was caused by a pathogen that is responsible for an epidemic in China in 1865. The bacteria that caused the disease is identified as Yersinia plague. The mechanism of transmittal of this bacteria was through fleas. These fleas had their midguts obstructed by reproductions of Yersinia plague after feeding on the infected host ( Moneckea, Moneckeb and Moneckec 2009, 583-87 ) .

Another cause of the disease that is put frontward by Historians is the Malthusian crisis. This states that the impairment of societal, living conditions and the failure of agribusiness played a important portion in the spread of the disease. This is because there had been a population detonation in Europe that was coupled with desperate life conditions in Europe ( Moneckea, Moneckeb and Moneckec 2009, 583-87 ) .



The modern histories of Black Death are frequently imprecise. Historians have noted that some symptoms that are difficult to lose seting in head that they were observed subsequently in China in 1865. One of the symptoms that was common were the visual aspect of buboes in the cervix, axillas and inguen. These buboes produced Pus, and besides bled when opened. Acute febrility together with emesis was another symptom of the Black Death. The lungs were besides affected taking to take a breathing and respiratory jobs. Death followed after two to seven yearss since the twenty-four hours of infection. The victims were covered with roseolas and lentigos like musca volitanss. Nausea and terrible concerns were another symptom of the disease. Victims of the disease suffered from a general feeling of unease, and they were besides predisposed to Pneumonia ( Moneckea, Moneckeb and Moneckec 2009, 583-87 ) .

Consequences of Black Death

Black Death had lay waste toing effects in Europe and some parts of the Middle East where it was experienced. One of effects was to desolate the universe, particularly Europe and besides Africa and the Middle East ( Aberth 2001, 78-79 ) .



Depopulation was one of the effects of Black Death. Information about the figure of the people who died varies from one historical beginning to another. It is approximated that at least 25 million people died in Europe. Other people died in Africa and the Middle East. It is utile to observe that, for intents of this paper, the pestilence was chiefly a European matter. The disease begun in Asia, specifically China and it is imperative that the decease toll from Asia be reported. The initial disease eruption in China claimed 5 million people, an estimated 90 % of the population in the state of Hubei. A latter eruption in the Chinese /Mongol Empire claimed 25 million people.

It is estimated that between 40- 60 % of the population of Europe perished in this pestilence. This was between1348 and 1350. Over 30 % of small towns were depopulated. The depopulation was worst on the smaller communities that were forced to fly to towns and metropoliss. The civilization of metropoliss was hit hard by the pestilence. This was particularly so in Poland and Lithunia. The big metropoliss of Europe were hardest hit ( Aberth 2001, 78-79 ) . This is because the population denseness made disease transmittal highly easy. Cities in mediaeval Europe were besides exceptionally foul, full of lice and rats. Malnutrition and hapless hygiene were the trademarks of metropolis life in mediaeval Europe. The fact that new communities were flying to the metropoliss increased the transmittal of the pestilence among communities. It increased the length of service of Black Death ( Aberth 2001, 78-79 ) .

Social Economic effects

On the societal economic platform, Black Death had lay waste toing consequences. This was exacerbated by the fact that the continent was on the threshold of major turbulences caused by wars and dearths. The authoritiess of most European states did non hold effectual responses to the crisis portended by Black Death ( Aberth 2001, 78-79 ) . This was because bookmans could non explicate how the disease spread, or what caused the disease. Medieval Europe was governed through sovereigns. They had instituted steps that outlawed exports of groceries, set monetary value controls and blasted black market guesss ( Aberth 2001, 78-79 ) . Besides, outlawed was big scale fishing. These limitations sent Europe on a downward spiral. This is because, states like England and Scotland that had been engaged in combat, were unable to purchase grain from France. The seas were unpassable due to the flagellum of plagiarists. The pestilence hit Europe when the continent was in the beginning phases of an economic recession ( Aberth 2001, 78-79 ) .

One of the aspects of the economic system that was enormously affected by the pestilence is the Agrarian economic system. This is because the agricultural economic system was enormously disrupted by the pestilence. After the pestilence, rural provincials begun to demand higher rewards for services rendered. In England, rewards rose from 12 % to 28 % during the plague period. From 1340 to 1360 the rewards rose once more by around 20 per centum. Another economic impact of the pestilence is that the supply of gold and Ag increased. This addition was on a per capita footing ( Hatcher 1977, 122 ) . This, in bend, had the consequence of rising prices in monetary values. This rising prices well reduced the buying power of most people in Europe. This made the life of the provincial and pay labourer more hard than it had been before the pestilence ( Hatcher 1977, 122 ) .

Another economic consequence that is related to the agricultural province of personal businesss caused by the pestilence is that most Godheads lost the services of their provincials. This is because most provincials tended to gravitate towards the topographic points that offered them better chances. This in bend led to the disregard of around 60 % of the land in England. The decrease of the labour pool by the pestilence increased the bargaining power of the provincials and pay earners ( Hatcher 1977, 122 ) . It made the provincials, who had been servile in pre-plague period to inquire for undertakings that were less burdensome. This led Godheads to be left with vacant secret plans. This manner they lost over 60 % of their hebdomads labour. 20 % of all winter and summer work in add-on to most winnowing services were lost to the Godhead. The failure of the Godhead to do grants made him lose his provincials and labor. Surviving renters after the pestilence abandoned their retentions. This was highly lay waste toing to the Godheads ( Benedictow 2004, 105 ) .

The contours of the colony were deeply altered by the pestilence. The ruinous depopulation of Europe contributed to the forsaking of land that was less profitable to set down that was profitable. There was a contraction of the bing colonies and sweeping thesis of small towns. It is estimated that more than1300 small towns in England vanished in the aftermath of Black Death ( Benedictow 2004, 105 ) .

The commercial economic system was besides affected by the pestilence. It brought about a deficit of labor in the metropoliss. The advantage of the metropolis is that it could pull new workers from the countryside. This increased the struggle between the manorial landlords and the metropolis business communities. This led to the revival of the slave trade in Africa and the Mediterranean. This slave trade was widely practiced in Italy ( Benedictow 2004, 105 ) . The female slaves entered domestic services while the male slaves toiled in the countryside. The pestilence had the consequence of luxating the demand for goods. The construction of demand of goods was besides transformed. The criterion of life was increased for most people, and they experienced an economic windfall. This was through the addition of disposable income. With more disposable income, the demand for goods increased ( Benedictow 2004, 105 ) .


One of the industries that were greatly affected by Black Death is the fabric industry. This was a precocious industry even before the pestilence. After the pestilence, it was enormously disrupted particularly when England came into the market with low quality fabric after the statute law of the Magna pestilencia. This made the fabric industry grow quickly in England ( Benedictow 2004, 105 ) .

Other effects of Black Death

One of the effects of Black Death is that it led to barbarous onslaughts on lazars, Jews and other foreigners who were accused of poisoning the H2O and air in Europe. Those with any skin disease faced persecution. The persecutions of Jews begun in France and spread to Switzerland and dressed ore in Germany. The slaughters of Jews begun in Bern. It is posted by historiographers that the persecutions were done as an abuse to the male monarchs and churches that protected the Jews. This persecution of the Jews led them to travel due easts. They moved to Poland and Russia ( Benedictow 2004, 105 ) .

Religion was drastically changed by Black Death. The traditional moorages of faith were greatly weakened. Historians believe that the pestilence caused mass neuroticism in Europe. People begun to believe that God was raining down his wrath on them. It is said that it led to the black mass, a signifier of devil worship. Cynicism developed towards the spiritual leaders of the twenty-four hours. The Black Death had besides a profound consequence on the humanistic disciplines, the art of the clip turned morbid ( Benedictow 2004, 105 ) .


The Black Death had profound effects on the continent of Europe. Many things that latter happened in subsequent centuries had their generation in the Black Death. These scope from spiritual reformations to industrial revolutions. It can be argued that the reformation of the church has its roots in the Black Death. This is because it was during this clip that people begun to oppugn their spiritual leaders. The roots of the holocaust can be traced to the Black Death. The roots of the agricultural and industrial revolutions are in the Black Death ( Hatcher 1977, 122 ) .