Tuesday, January 25, 2011

41 Interesting Facts...about the Black Death

A plague epidemic swept through Europe from 1348 through 1351, killing an estimated 25–60% of Europeans. Some estimates are as high as 2/3 of the population.

The exact death toll is difficult to measure from medieval sources. The number of deaths varied considerably by area and depending on the source. Current estimates are that between 75 and 200 million people died from the plague.

The term "Black Death" is recent. During the plague, it was called "the Great Mortality" or "the Pestilence."

Although the period known as the Black Death ended in 1351, the plague continued to return to Europe, with epidemics every few years through the end of the fifteenth century.

The Black Death was the second plague pandemic of the Middle Ages. Justinian’s Plague in the sixth century was deadly and widespread, but did not create the same devastation as the second pandemic.d

The Black Death followed a period of population growth in Europe which, combined with two years of cold weather and torrential rains that wiped out grain crops, resulted in a shortage of food for humans and rats. This caused people and animals
to crowd in cities, providing an optimal environment for disease.

In 1346, rumors of a plague that started in China and spread throughout Asia, Persia, Syria, Egypt, and India reached Europe. All of India was rumored to have been depopulated.

The first named victims of the plague died in 1338 and 1339 in the area around Lake Issyk Kul (Lake Baikal) in Russia, where a grave marker says, "In the year of the hare (1339). This is the grave of Kutluk. He died of the plague with his wife, Magnu-Kelka."

During a siege of the Genoese city of Kaffa by the Tatars in 1347, the inhabitants were reportedly infected with the plague when the Tatars threw the bodies of plague victims into the city.

In November 1347, a fleet of Genoese trading ships landed in Messina, Sicily after trading along the coast from the Black Sea to Italy. The ships carried dead and dying sailors, many of whom had strange black growths on their necks, in their armpits, or in their groins. Many coughed blood. Those who were alive died within days.

...see complete list at http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/06/09_black-death.html

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