Black Death Historical Debate

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The Black Death Historical Debate History 108: Birth Europe: Antiquity-14th C The epidemic known as the Black Death is viewed as an unparalleled disaster in human history. Between 1346 and 1353 the Black Death rapidly spread across Europe and claimed the lives of approximately one-third of the population.1The outbreak of the Black Death, or plague is believed to have originated in central Asia along trade routes2 and has been generally attributed to the pathogenic agent known as bacillus Yersinia pestis.3 Although there is a lot of information regarding the Black Death, historians have long debated many questions concerning the topic. One of these questions includes: Was such a catastrophe inevitable given the state of Europe’s population…show more content…
In my opinion the state of Europe’s population in the 14th century may have contributed to the Black Death but was not the main or most crucial factor. Even though high populations can result in disease and famine, there needs to be something else present to create such a human disaster like the Black Death. I believe that there was a combination of conditions leading up to and during the 14th century that made Europe a perfect area for the Black Death to flourish in. These conditions included the appearance of the bacillus Yersinia pestis pathogen in humans, Europe’s transitional period of modernisation and technological advancements, and the limited medical understanding of the specifics of the Black Death. The combination of these factors allowed the plague to spread unpredictably over vast areas in a short period of time without having any understanding on how to prevent or control it. I point to this combination as being the reason that the Black Death was an inevitable event in human…show more content…
33. no. 3 (2007)., 1. 2 Mortimer Chambers The Western Experience, Volume I, 10th Edition (2010), 299. 3 “The Great Transformation?” Review of David Herlihy, The Black Death and the Transformation of the West. (accessed March 27, 2012). 4 Ole J. Benedictow, “The Black Death.” History Today 55, no. 3: 42-49. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 27, 2012). 42. 5 Michael Ahn, “The Black Plague”, (accessed March 27, 2012). 6 7 8 History Learning Site, “The Black Death of 1348 to 1350.” (accessed March 27,

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