Black Death

The Black Death was one of the worst natural disasters. A disastrous plague touched down in Europe in the fall of 1347 A.D and swept across it throughout the mid- fourteenth century having several negative and positive effects on Europe’s culture, politics, population and economy.   Almost one-third of Europe’s population died. Although many see the effects of the plague only negative, I will talk about some positive effects as well. But first lets start off with a little information on what the Black Death was and how it was transmitted.[1]

      The Black Death came in three forms, the pneumonic, septicemic, and bubonic. All forms were caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Each different form of plague killed people in a very vicious way. The bubonic plague was the most commonly seen form of the Black Death. The symptoms were enlarged lymph nodes around arm pits, neck and groin. Victims were subject to headaches, nausea, aching joints, severe fevers, and vomiting. The mortality rate for the bubonic plague was 30-75%.[2]

      The pneumonic plague was the second most commonly seen form of the Black Death. The pneumonic plague infected the lungs. Symptoms included slimy saliva mixed with mucus covered with blood. As the disease progressed, the saliva mixed with mucus became free flowing and bright red. The mortality rate for the pneumonic plague was 90-95%.[3]

      The septicemic plague was the rarest form of them all. The mortality rate was close to 100% and even today there is no treatment. Symptoms were a high fever and skin turning deep shades of purple. The Black Death got its name from the deep purple that looked almost black which was left on the victim’s skin after they died. Victims usually died the same day symptoms appeared.[4]

      The culprits who transmitted this disease were Oriental Rat Fleas carried on the back of black rats. The three forms of the Black Death were transmitted in two ways. The septicemic and bubonic plague,...