If war can wipe out millions of lives from the face of Earth, so can a disease. The worst ever pandemic in history of mankind was the Black Death that claimed the lives of nearly 75 to 200 million people worldwide. The disease received its name ‘Black Death’ in Europe where it was responsible for wiping out nearly 30-60% of the total European population. So, what was the disease? How did it spread? How was it stopped? There are many questions like these that will be answered in this article titled 50 interesting Black Death Facts. Definitely, this article is going to be a long one so, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea!
Interesting Black Death Facts: 1-10
1. Black Death was a plague epidemic that swept across Europe between 1348 and 1353, killing nearly 25 to 60% of the entire population of Europe. Some historians however claim that the plague wiped out nearly 2/3rd of the entire European population.
2. The plague reached Europe through the sea in October 1348. In that month, 12 Genoese trading ships came to Messina’s Sicilian port. The ships arrived through Black Sea.
3. To their utmost horror, people who came to greet the ships’ crew found many of the crew members to be dead and those who were alive were terribly sick, suffering with pain and high fever and were simply unable to keep their food down in their gut.
4. People who were sick had their bodies covered with black boils that oozed out pus and blood. It was because of the black boils that the disease was named Black Death.
5. By the time the Sicilian authorities ordered the ships to move out of the port, it was pretty late. Black Death had already made its way into Sicily and over the course of next 5 years, it claimed millions of lives.
6. Interestingly, the name ‘Black Death’ was actually not adopted immediately. In fact, it was known as “the Pestilence” or “the Great Mortality”.
7. The dirty dance of the plague ended in 1353 but that was not a complete end. It kept returning after every few years and continued to kill people until the end of the 15th century.
8. The emergence of Black Death was actually the second pandemic. Prior to the onset of the plague during the Middle Ages, Europe was hit in the 6th century by the Justinian’s Plague. That too was deadly and killed many people but Black Death had far more devastating consequences.
9. The exponential expansion of the Black Death was a result of the then societal conditions. The plague entered Europe a few years after the continent experienced a massive surge in population growth and two consecutive years of torrential rains and bitter cold. The harsh environmental conditions destroyed grain crops. Due to the shortage of food supply, more and more people alongside animals herded into populous city areas, thereby providing the perfect environment for propagation of the plague.
10. According to rumors of 1346, the plague had first struck China from where it spread throughout Asia and moved on to Egypt, Syria, Persia, India and then finally reaching Europe.