The Black Plague

By: Travis Thompson and Jake Davis

Essential Question: How did the spread of diseases such as the Black Plague affect civilizations and the course of history?


The Bubonic Plague, or the Black Plague as it is commonly referred to as now, was first recorded in Europe in October of 1347, but most medical historians believe that it could have arrived in Europe as early as 767. It was spread through increased trade between other countries in the area. Rats and fleas carried the diseases and would often find their way onto ships. The sailors and merchants would come into contact with the disease while traveling and carry it to their destination. The fastest and wide spread epidemic of the plague was when it hit in around 1348. It wasn't until 1351 that the Black Plague had finally been, for the most part, eradicated. The body count was estimated to be an astonishing 23,840,000. This was over a third of Europe's originally, pre plague population of about 70 million. The plague would return in later years, however the affects would be minuscule by comparison.

The Effects:

The Black Plague had both positive and negative effects. The spreading of the plague meant more advanced building techniques were developed. It also helped the Protestant reformation succeed due to people having less faith in simply praying to God to heal them. Medicine was more excepted and was looked at as "witch craft".

The picture above shows a plague doctor or physic epidemic as they are called in Italian. They were specifically used to help people with the plague.

Critical Thinking Question:

If the black plague had not occurred, what do you think would have happened to society? Think about the positive effects of the plague as well as the negatives.

Resources Used:

Pictures and Information-

"The Black Death: Bubonic Plague." The Black Death: Bubonic Plague., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

Edmonds, Molly. "The Black Death - HowStuffWorks." HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

"1320: Section 6: The Black Death." 1320: Section 6: The Black Death. USU History and Civilization, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

Did a Comet Cause the Black Death? - Guerrilla Explorer." DAVID MEYER. N.p., 11 July 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Benedictow, Ole J. "The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever." The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.


"Black Death." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Byrne, Joseph P. "Black Death quarantines." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

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