The Bubonic Plague and Its Effect on Elizabethan England

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Twenty-four million was the total death count of the bubonic plague in Europe. One-third of the population died due to the bubonic plague, or Black Death. The Black Death is caused by a bacteria called Yersin bacillus that is commonly found in the stomachs of certain species of fleas. The fleas usually live on small rodents, especially black rats. The Black Plague was likely brought to Europe by fleas on rats that were carried by trading ships. The Black Death was a very gruesome disease. The victim’s skin would turn black in patches and inflamed glands would appear in the groin and armpit regions. With symptoms including vomiting, a swollen tongue, and splitting headaches, the Black Plague lead to a slow and painful death for its victims. The plague most likely started in China and then moved west to Europe. The plague was first spotted in Europe in 767 AD. However, the first widespread epidemic did not occur until the 14th century. This epidemic started on the island of Sicily in September of 1346. In just six months the plague spread throughout mainland Italy. In January 1348, the Black Death had moved north to France and killed about one third of France’s population in a matter of months. The first case of the bubonic plague in England was in September of 1348. From England, the plague spread across the British Isles to Scotland and Ireland. The Black Death killed about 40% of the population of the British Isles before the epidemic ended. By 1351, the plague had run its course in Europe. Pope Clement IV estimated that 23,840,000 citizens of Europe had died due to the bubonic plague. The population of Europe before the plague was about 75 million. In the time span of just three years, one third of Europe had died. It would take 150 years for the population of Europe to recover from the Black Death. The bubonic plague would not strike Europe again until the

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