The Bubonic Plague: The Black Death In Medieval Europe

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The Black Death A fierce plague swept through Europe in 1348, indiscriminately killing most people who came into contact with it, irrespective of age or social status. This pandemic, which remains perhaps the single greatest human tragedy in history, is known as the Black Death. The earliest known visitation of the plague to Europe may have occurred in Athens in 430 B.C., but it is unclear if the disease that afflicated Athens was caused by Yersina pestis. A disastrous epidemic occurred in the Mediterranean during the time of the Roman emperor Justinian; an estimated 25% to 50% of the population is reported to have succumbed. The most widespread epidemic began in Constantinople in 1334, spread throughout Europe (returning Crusaders were…show more content…
The Black Death was technically called the Bubonic Plague, but the Black Death was the more common name at the time. More recently, the Black Death has also been mistakenly called the Black Plague too. Named the Black Death in Medieval Europe, it wiped out one-third of the population of Europe, with the majority of deaths occurring between 1348 and 1351. The global epidemic, or "Black Death," that most associate with medieval Europe actually began in central Asia in the early 14th century, probably near China's Gobi Desert. It then spread through China, killing approximately 35 million people. For reasons unknown (perhaps global cooling allowed it to thrive), the plague began a massive outbreak in all directions that eventually affected most of the world. It spread along Chinese trade routes and reached Europe in October 1347 when a fleet of Genoese merchant ships from Caffa landed in…show more content…
Landlords often borrowed large sums of money and, when serfs died or demanded higher wages, landlords could not raise money to repay creditors. If the landlord succumbed to the plague, there was no way for creditors to recover lost money. Widespread labor shortages led to a rise in labor prices. This occurred in all aspects of the economy but was especially evident in the agricultural sector. Serfs who for centuries had worked the land for little or not pay, suddenly began to demand higher wages and, increasingly, revolted against a nobility that sought to work them for lower wages of the past. Social Effects - The greatest social impact of the plague was that the rigid feudal system, in place in Europe for a thousand years, was dismantled. Feudalism was based on the nobility controlling land and the peasants who worked it. With immense labor shortages, serfs were free to leave the lands of the lords to seek higher wages. Additionally, land that had traditionally been the primary source of wealth was now worthless. Entire estates, abandoned as families fell to the plague or fled in a futile bid to escape its wrath, were there for the
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