France and the Black Death

Sadie Carr

  • The Bubonic plague was the most common form of the Black Death and it started when Italian merchants brought the plague with them from Kaffa to the island of Sicily in October 1347.  
  • The Black Death then spread to southern France by the end of 1347.
  • The Plague had mainly spread through France along the trade routes.
  • France alone had almost a million people die from the bubonic plague.  
  • Since the people in France at this time did not understand the biology of the disease at this point in time, they blamed the deaths on God for punishing them.
  • A group of upper-class men joined a processions of flagellants, that went around from town to town presenting public displays of penance and punishment. They would beat themselves in front of others to cope with their terror.  Some people thought that they were doing this because if God was punishing all of France, then the men would just beat themselves three times a day to make up for the punishment of all the people of France.
  • Funerals were not very common at this time because there were so many deaths.
  • Working had ceased because the disease traveled so fast
  • Food was hard to get because there were very few people working, and any food that there was, was unavailable because the growers were not leaving their homes. And some people were dead, so they couldn't work.
  • Some families though had abandoned each other in order to stay "safe" from the wrath of God. They did this so that they could shut themselves away from the world.
  • Some families, during this time, stuck together and prayed all day long.
  • The economy underwent an extremely high point of inflation
  • Serfs were no longer tied to one master, if the serf left their lord then they could be hired by another lord.
  • Faith in a religion had decreased because some people called out that if there was a God that they would be saved, but they weren't so the people lost faith.
  • After the Black Death settled, people change what they wore and worked in so that their nobility showed just by looking at them.  Then the serfs, who now had a little bit more power, tried to rebel against the aristocracy. However, it failed and died quickly.  


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