The Black Death

The Black Death was the deadliest and most widespread pandemic the world had ever seen. In 1348, the year most historians agree that the plague started to take effect in, an infectious disease spread by fleas on rats decimated the population of Europe, the Middle East, and western Asia.

The disease was aided by the uneducated population on the topic of sanitation. Doctors were, to put it mildly, stupid, and some advised people to sleep face down rather than face up, to prevent catching the Black Death.

The destruction of the sickness amounted to about 25-50% of Europe’s total population. As people were aware of the catastrophe, some decided that their last days should be spent in indulgence and pleasure. “Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die” was the saying. Others tipped in the opposite extreme, going out in public and performing mortification of the flesh, beating themselves, wondering that the plague might have been the effects of God’s anger with them.

Rural areas were relatively untouched as there weren’t many people to become infected and spread the Black Death further. A few cities, such as Milan, were spared for the most part because they had taken measures to reduce contact with the infected. They would board up houses where the pestilence resided, effectively cutting off contact. Milan survived with about 15% of the people dead after the plague passed.

This crisis helped Europe charge into the Renaissance, where the areas of education, culture, and exploration thrived and advanced to the next level.


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