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Black Death Essay

By | September 2011
Page 1 of 3
It started with a headache. Then chills and fever, which left him/her exhausted and reduced to extreme weakness. They likely experienced nausea, vomiting, back pain, soreness in their arms and legs. Perhaps intense light was too bright to stand. Within a day or two, the swellings appeared. They were hard, painful, burning lumps on their neck, under their arms, on their inner thighs. Soon they turned black, split open, and began to ooze pus and blood. They may have grown to the size of an orange. These are the symptoms of the Black Death, one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of bubonic plague, and during those dark times, it is estimated to have killed 30% – 60% of Europe's population, reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. It is normal for anyone to wonder where it came from, where could such a deadly, sweeping pandemic originate and reach Europe? The questions are answered if you read on…

The first recorded appearance of the plague in Europe was at Messina, Sicily in October of 1347. It arrived on trading ships that very likely came from the Black Sea, past Constantinople and through the Mediterranean. This was a fairly standard trade route that brought to European customers such items as silks and porcelain, which were carried over land to the Black Sea from as far away as China. The people of Messina were shocked and scared of what sickness had come from the ship that they expelled it from the port, yet it was too late. The plague took over the city, infecting many very quickly. Many panicked and fled, thus, spreading it to the surrounding countryside. The expelled trading ships brought it to other areas around the Mediterranean, infecting the neighboring islands of Corsica and Sardinia by November.

Plague had also traveled from Sarai to the Genoese trading station of Tana, east of...
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