The Black Death

EQ: How does disease transform a society?

Spread of the black death

  • By 1347, The Black Death reached the Black Sea port of Caffa which is now know as Feodosiya, Ukraine.
  • The disease then spread through sea and land trade routes to western Asia, North Africa, and southern Europe.
  • Also during 1347, The Black Death then reached Messina, Sicily. Soon after that, the disease spread to several cities located around the Mediterranean Sea that resulted in the start of many deaths.
  • In 1348, the disease kept spreading and got deeper into Europe and then attacking London, Scandinavia, and Russia months later. After this, the disease went back through Europe taking out more people than the first time.
  • During 1349, Jews broke out in massacres and which killed 3000 and 200 people were buried daily.
  • 1351 is when the disease reaches Moscow, and which now means the whole continent was infected.
  • After many years, many wars, The Black Death reaches Austria in 1711.

Population Demographics

The Black Death caused over 75 million deaths. Since the disease came in pneumonic or septicemic form (spread through the respiratory system), the ones infected will die 100% of the time. Because of this, the Black Death is known as the deadliest pandemic in all of history. This plague killed up to 70% of Europe's population lasting from 1347 all the way to 1353. Around 1400, already 40% of the European population had been killed, which was about 25 million people.

Social and Economic Consequences

Before the plague had rapidly spread, there was overpopulation in Europe which made The Black Death infect more people. Because there was an estimated 75 million deaths, villages were abandoned and there was very limited amount of fertile land left. This negatively impacted the economy since there were no goods or crops to grow and trade, and many of the workers had been infected so they could not provide these products. The ones that had not been infected by the disease would only work for five times more money. The taxes also increased which was difficult for the people especially peasants that were still alive. Not only was the Black Death destructive to the economy, there were also severe social consequences. People would leave their homes and families in order to find safety. The plague also caused a significant decrease in faith in religion. The people seemed to think that prayer could stop the Black Death or save the ones who were infected, and when this failed or did not occur they began to question God. They couldn't understand why God would bring this tragic disease or why they couldn't avoid death through the power of prayer. This made people angry because they had worshipped God for so long and it didn't seem to be paying off, resulting in massacres.

EQ: How does disease transform a society?

CTQ: What did the Black Death affect more, the social structure or the economic structure? Why?

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