The Black Death
A virulent plague strikes Europe in the 14th century in addition to its current over-population and malnutrition problems. Preconditions and Causes of the Plague 1. Nine-tenths of the people worked the land in the 14th century of Europe. 2. The 3 field system efficiently rose the production of crops however it was still not enough to meet the demands of the growing population. 3. Estimation shows the European population doubling within the years 1000 and 3000 outgrowing the food supply. 4.
In addition to food shortage there was a shortage of jobs, and many Europeans faced extreme hunger conditions. 5. During 1315-1317 crop failures result in the largest famine of the Middle Ages. 6. Populated urban towns and areas, like the industrial towns of the Netherlands suffered the most under these conditions. 7. Overpopulation, economic depression, famine, and bad health coming together for decades surely weakened Europe’s population making it more susceptible to impending plague. 8. The Black Death was called so because of the black discoloration of the skin.
It travelled from Asia to Europe through trade routes. 9. The fleas on rats held the plague and ships that travelled from the Black Sea to Europe were the likely cause of the plague spreading to Europe. 10. The Black Death first began appearing in Constantinople in 1346 and Sicily in 1347. Entering the ports of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa in 1348. From then on the plague began spreading through Spain and France and into north Europe. Regions off to the side of trade routes such as Bohemia remained unaffected by the plague. 11. The plague had much reappearance for decades after.
Popular Remedies 1. The plague attacked the lungs of the victim while under it. Because it affected the lungs sneezing and wheezing easily passed it on from person to person. 2. Physicians at the time knew little of the body so basic fundamental procedures to prevent the disease failed. 3. Cotemporary physicians cannot explain the plague either and view it to be a catastrophe with no explanation and no defense. 4. Western Europe was greatly affected by an obsession with death and disease and caused a pessimism that lasted even after the plague had been over for years. 5.
Some people believed the disease had come from a corruption in the atmosphere while others though it was caused by fumes that earthquakes released. 6. Many people believed a remedy was to wear an aromatic amulet. 7. Some believed a temperate life would be a remedy others gave into their passions; however others still chose flight and seclusion as the best medicine. 8. An extreme remedy believed by flagellants consisted of beating one’s self and that would bring on a divine intervention. The act of this was so socially disruptive and the blood spilled by this spread the disease even more, so the church finally banned these acts.