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The Black Death: Bubonic Plague





Harlequin
Quote:
In the early 1330s an outbreak of deadly bubonic plague occurred in China. The bubonic plague mainly affects rodents, but fleas can transmit the disease to people. Once people are infected, they infect others very rapidly. Plague causes fever and a painful swelling of the lymph glands called buboes, which is how it gets its name. The disease also causes spots on the skin that are red at first and then turn black.

Since China was one of the busiest of the world's trading nations, it was only a matter of time before the outbreak of plague in China spread to western Asia and Europe. In October of 1347, several Italian merchant ships returned from a trip to the Black Sea, one of the key links in trade with China. When the ships docked in Sicily, many of those on board were already dying of plague. Within days the disease spread to the city and the surrounding countryside. An eyewitness tells what happened:

"Realizing what a deadly disaster had come to them, the people quickly drove the Italians from their city. But the disease remained, and soon death was everywhere. Fathers abandoned their sick sons. Lawyers refused to come and make out wills for the dying. Friars and nuns were left to care for the sick, and monasteries and convents were soon deserted, as they were stricken, too. Bodies were left in empty houses, and there was no one to give them a Christian burial."

The disease struck and killed people with terrible speed. The Italian writer Boccaccio said its victims often

"ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors in paradise."
By the following August, the plague had spread as far north as England, where people called it "The Black Death" because of the black spots it produced on the skin. A terrible killer was loose across Europe, and Medieval medicine had nothing to combat it.

In winter the disease seemed to disappear, but only because fleas--which were now helping to carry it from person to person--are dormant then. Each spring, the plague attacked again, killing new victims. After five years 25 million people were dead--one-third of Europe's people.

Even when the worst was over, smaller outbreaks continued, not just for years, but for centuries. The survivors lived in constant fear of the plague's return, and the disease did not disappear until the 1600s.

Medieval society never recovered from the results of the plague. So many people had died that there were serious labor shortages all over Europe. This led workers to demand higher wages, but landlords refused those demands. By the end of the 1300s peasant revolts broke out in England, France, Belgium and Italy.

The disease took its toll on the church as well. People throughout Christendom had prayed devoutly for deliverance from the plague. Why hadn't those prayers been answered? A new period of political turmoil and philosophical questioning lay ahead.


Black Death - Disaster Strikes
25 million people died in just under five years between 1347 and 1352. Estimated population of Europe from 1000 to 1352.
1000 38 million
1100 48 million
1200 59 million
1300 70 million
1347 75 million
1352 50 million

gh0stface wrote:
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medievalman26
It was horrible but easy enough to avoid. I think that if they were less crowded in their cities that they would have not had as big an impact.
zjosie729
I seems like it was unavoidable to me.
HDirtwater
Think of it this way:

AIDS is killing thousands every year and this is 2007. In 1100, the world didn't have much in terms of medicine, so a killer bug like the plague is gonna be catastrophic. These people had no electricity, no running water (hence no toilets), and no way of keeping food cold until cooking and eating it.

On a side note, I find the term "Black Death" to be extremely racist!! Wink
http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-83846.html
tony
ya; i have heard the living conditions were quite bad then. thats why it was able to spread so easily. now of days it is not so bad because we have better living habit/condition/hdi.
tpdreams
Och, think of the smell!! Ah, no really, just don't sleep with the rats!

AIDS is different than Yersinia pestis. Y. pestis can be treated pretty simply these days. AIDS, you just have to stop the spread. However, you can't just test everyone's blood, then quarantine all people who test positive. Nor can you make positive people refrain from having sex.

"It's unconstitutional!" _mockingly_
deanhills
tpdreams wrote:
AIDS is different than Yersinia pestis. Y. pestis can be treated pretty simply these days. AIDS, you just have to stop the spread. However, you can't just test everyone's blood, then quarantine all people who test positive. Nor can you make positive people refrain from having sex.

"It's unconstitutional!" _mockingly_


AIDS is indeed sad, and wish that we can stop it from spreading. Seems to have been unable to go away and is still with us all of this time, moving from one generation to another. Particularly sad in African countries where it is difficult to educate and check the spread and where medication is unaffordable for the majority of sufferers. It has even become a form of crime and terrorism when people consciously infect people with the Aids virus by sticking tainted syringes into victims.

I still wonder why a simple cure has not been found for AIDS. It's been a long time now since it first made its appearance.
imera
The lack of knowledge was the biggest threat a long time ago, we all know that we should wash our hands after a toilet visit, and other things they might not have done before. Around 1700 or when it was again (I suck with dates) the ones that delivered baby's would use the same 'tools' from one birth to another, not even washing their hands, so no wonder a baby would die soon after birth. That kept on until one guy demanded that they would wash their hands and use sterilized equipments. Today we know a lot more.

But I would hate to imagine a plague that nobody knows about being spread around the world
paul_indo
There was agreat program on discovery or Nat Geo recently about this subject.

It seems that the plague, in Europe at least was not actually bubonic plague and in fact it is unknown the exact cause of it.
The evidence for this was that in recorded cases of the spread in towns and villages it was seen that the disease spread from person to person, giving a random spread due to the travels of those with the disease who then spread it to the next person they meet, maybe across town or even another city, not a geographicaly concentrated spread as would be the case with fleas.

The symptoms also, although very similar, had some important differences. I believe that the time from contracting the disease untill death was longer than with bubonic plague if I remember correctly.

Has anyone else seen this documentary?

Can't find much about it but here's one reference.

http://www.rhul.ac.uk/for-staff/on-campus/media/June2002.html
Coclus
Yes the industrial revolution changed it all.
rshanthakumar
Every bad thing has a good side to it as well. The good thing of the Black plague is the Industrial revolution. It led to a major shortage of labor as already pointed out and this in turn brought about scientific inventions that were to change the world like never before.

Second, the article says Black Plague started in China. But what is the impact in China. It talks about the impact in Europe. Why did it not affect the Chinese as it did the Europeans? You will find an interesting answer to this.
edwinl
medical education at that time was too poor that's why the plague was terrible
ktmallon82
that's not necessarily true, and would depend on exactly where and when - and actually which - bubonic plague we are talking about. Consider the bubonic plague that hit Constantinople during the reign of Justinian versus the 1348 plague, the more traditional account of the "plague" and you'll probably have to come up with very different ways of interpreting the very idea of "plague".
j14fusion14
the bubonic plauge screwed europe. this article is about the disease in general. For information about the medieval European plague, see Black Death Bubonic plague is the best-known manifestation of the bacterial disease plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis (formerly known as Pasteurella pestis). Bubonic plague is often used synonymously for plague, but it does in fact refer specifically to an infection that enters through the skin and travels through the lymphatics, as is often seen in flea-borne infections. Bubonic Plague kills about 50% of infected patients in 4-7 days. The Bubonic plague is believed by many to be the Black Death that was in Europe in the 1340s.
leontius
deanhills wrote:

I still wonder why a simple cure has not been found for AIDS. It's been a long time now since it first made its appearance.


Actually there are already cures/medicines for AIDS... but just like any treatment of a complex disease, it is not simple. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highly_active_antiretroviral_therapy
martinus28
wow i didnt know bout that :O thats sad
poppat
In England there was a village that contained the disease (Plague) by everyone agreeing to stay in the village boundaries. Many people died, but some survived. The villagers were left food at an agreed place by the next village. A real heroic act by many people.

poppat
muffinman187
the history channel did a documentary on this.

well back then knowledge of medicine was really primitive and there were no such thing as sanitization.
there's even group of religious people called flagellants that goes around whipping themselves believing that such punishment will earn god grace and thus be saved from the pledge but instead their just exposing themselves to the disease by the open wounds on their body.

what's interesting is that the wealthy and the noble lock themselves inside their castle and mansion thinking just as long as they don't have any exposure to the common people they will escape the pledge but there was no exception for the wealthy either.
OpposableThumbs
muffinman187 wrote:
the history channel did a documentary on this. . . . the wealthy and the noble lock themselves inside their castle and mansion thinking just as long as they don't have any exposure to the common people they will escape the pledge but there was no exception for the wealthy either.


Yes: E.A. Poe did a story about this: "The Masque of the Red Death"
Crinoid
I may be mistaken, but I read that in Britain Queen lost beloved husband to some mass disease. After that water supply and sewage removal of the whole city were rebuilt, based on different principles. Decease never returned.

It was necessary "novelty", like for physicians start to wash and treat hands before a surgery and assisting labour. Life (and death) is a great teacher.
noidea
Scientist think that if the Black Death was to be repeated in our time and age and we couldn't develop a vaccine against it the toll in Asia could be in the 100's of millions. This is due to the intergration of rats in domestic situations. Although the Black Death is deadly there is one disease that can compare with black death. Ebola Zaire. This disease has a hit rate of around 90% and can spread easily from contact from blood and through animals
deanhills
noidea wrote:
Scientist think that if the Black Death was to be repeated in our time and age and we couldn't develop a vaccine against it the toll in Asia could be in the 100's of millions. This is due to the intergration of rats in domestic situations. Although the Black Death is deadly there is one disease that can compare with black death. Ebola Zaire. This disease has a hit rate of around 90% and can spread easily from contact from blood and through animals


Where did you find this information? I would like to read more about the source, which scientists were they?
ThePolemistis
On perhaps a positive note, the bubonic plague perhaps brought about the beginning of capitalism (if thats a good thing) in Europe.

Perhaps the plague was one of the reasons that brought about the collapse of the Islamic golden age?
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
On perhaps a positive note, the bubonic plague perhaps brought about the beginning of capitalism (if thats a good thing) in Europe.

Perhaps the plague was one of the reasons that brought about the collapse of the Islamic golden age?


How come? In both cases? What would the reason be for it?
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
On perhaps a positive note, the bubonic plague perhaps brought about the beginning of capitalism (if thats a good thing) in Europe.

Perhaps the plague was one of the reasons that brought about the collapse of the Islamic golden age?


How come? In both cases? What would the reason be for it?


Bringing the beginning of capitalism because the peasant population fell drastically and to a state where peasants would be able to demand higher wages due to the shortage.

With the collapse of Islamic golden age: although medicine in the Islamic world was getting advanced (i.e. works of Ibn Sina - Canon of Medicine - worlds first encyclopedia on medicine detailing most of what was known at that time, and others), and Islamic hadith (the Prophet said whenever a plague inflicts a city, no one should leave that city and no-one should enter it), it still lead to many many deaths in the Muslim world. It was more harmful to the Muslim world because they were the leaders in technology and I think more people died. Christian Europe was in darkness during this era, and so had a less of an impact.
I think the plague was one of the reasons that led to Christian Europe to surpass the Islamic world in terms of becoming leaders of science and technology.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
Bringing the beginning of capitalism because the peasant population fell drastically and to a state where peasants would be able to demand higher wages due to the shortage.


I thought that was as a result of the industrial revolution, not the bubonic plague? Are you sure about this?

ThePolemistis wrote:
With the collapse of Islamic golden age: although medicine in the Islamic world was getting advanced (i.e. works of Ibn Sina - Canon of Medicine - worlds first encyclopedia on medicine detailing most of what was known at that time, and others), and Islamic hadith (the Prophet said whenever a plague inflicts a city, no one should leave that city and no-one should enter it), it still lead to many many deaths in the Muslim world. It was more harmful to the Muslim world because they were the leaders in technology and I think more people died. Christian Europe was in darkness during this era, and so had a less of an impact.
I think the plague was one of the reasons that led to Christian Europe to surpass the Islamic world in terms of becoming leaders of science and technology.

Are you sure that science and technology are a product of religion? And not of freedom and opportunity to be educated and to do research in science and technology? That has to be from Government, not from religion? Perhaps the dark ages were because religion was government, there was no separation between the two? And then enlightenment came when the two were separated and emphasis changed to that of focus on religion to advancement of human beings?
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
I thought that was as a result of the industrial revolution, not the bubonic plague? Are you sure about this?


The peasant population drastically fell in Europe, a third of Englands population was lost. Peasants were in demand. For the first time, they were able to negotiate their salaries. I said it was the beginning stages of capitalism. Capitalism is the next stage of feudalism. The bubonic plague made feudalism less powerful

ThePolemistis wrote:

Are you sure that science and technology are a product of religion? And not of freedom and opportunity to be educated and to do research in science and technology? That has to be from Government, not from religion? Perhaps the dark ages were because religion was government, there was no separation between the two? And then enlightenment came when the two were separated and emphasis changed to that of focus on religion to advancement of human beings?


With respect to Islam, science and techonology with teh rise of religion went hand in hand - that is, the Muslims were technological the most advanced and knowledgable civilization of their time because they firmly believed in what Islam thought, and the emphasis Islam placed on learning knowledge.
This is evident in Hadith by the Prophet where he said:
"he dies not who give life to learning"
"the ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr"
"Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim."
And this knowledge was not restircted or simply referring to religious knowledge as teh Prophet also stated:
“Seek knowledge even in China,” (as China was not a Muslim country, the knowledge was referring to worldly knowledge)

ANd if you would look at the great Muslim scientists of them days, you will notice all were strong in their faith also. For instance, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) memorised the entire Quran at 7. Al-Khawarizmi (founder of algebra) was a pious Muslim Persian. Averroes (who is the founder of Western Secular THought - who brought the idea of faith and reason) was a practicing Muslim also.

The dark ages was for CHristian Europe only. It was not for the Muslim world. It was their golden age. It was because of the philosophy and the works of the Muslims, that led to the renaissance in Europe.

And you must also remember, that the way Islam and Christian portray events and on science. For instance, in Islam the Prophet said: "there is not a disease that is sent from the heavens that except with it comes its cure except one." (that one being death or old age). So yes, there were Muslim doctors, physcians etc who made the distinction between smallpox, cowpox, chickenpox, who first conteplated the idea of a double circulatory system, who first thought of the idea that light enters the eye in straight lines, who wrote about the eyes and much more because they believed that as Muslims it was their duty to understand more about their bodies and devise curable diseases because every disease ahd its cure.

So no I cannot say that Islam caused a period of darkness in MIddleEastern history - It was the best period they have ever had for never before had they ruled so far, became so rich, command justice for all people (for their day it was the greatest) and made such great contributions to science and technology than any other civlization before it, dwarfing the Egyptians, Sumerians, Persians, Babylon etc etc.
yagnyavalkya
I heard that American distributed plague infected blankets to Red Indian to kill them any body have got some authentic records of this?
deanhills
yagnyavalkya wrote:
I heard that American distributed plague infected blankets to Red Indian to kill them any body have got some authentic records of this?


Where did you hear this from? Rolling Eyes
Bikerman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_American_indigenous_peoples#Deliberate_infection.3F
ThePolemistis
yagnyavalkya wrote:
I heard that American distributed plague infected blankets to Red Indian to kill them any body have got some authentic records of this?


It is true.

Americans (the decendants of white Europeans) also used blacks as guinea pigs in medical experiments (see tuskagee experiments).

This is American history for you.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
yagnyavalkya wrote:
I heard that American distributed plague infected blankets to Red Indian to kill them any body have got some authentic records of this?


It is true.

Americans (the decendants of white Europeans) also used blacks as guinea pigs in medical experiments (see tuskagee experiments).

This is American history for you.


I have difficulty believing any of the two statements. Can you back it up with evidence?
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
yagnyavalkya wrote:
I heard that American distributed plague infected blankets to Red Indian to kill them any body have got some authentic records of this?


It is true.

Americans (the decendants of white Europeans) also used blacks as guinea pigs in medical experiments (see tuskagee experiments).

This is American history for you.


I have difficulty believing any of the two statements. Can you back it up with evidence?


The former is a rumour I have heard, cannot back it up with original evidence (haven't tried). But given the mass steralisation of native american women and other horrific acitivities, it might be true.

Regarding the medical experiments statement I made, here is wikipedia on the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Study_of_Untreated_Syphilis_in_the_Negro_Male wrote:

The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male[1] (also known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Public Health Service Syphilis Study, or the Tuskegee Experiment) was a clinical study, conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service. 399 poor, and mostly illiterate,[citation needed] African American sharecroppers were studied to observe the natural progression of the disease if left untreated.

The study became controversial, and eventually led to major changes in how participants are protected in clinical studies. Individuals enrolled in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study were not required to give informed consent and were not informed of their diagnosis; instead they were told they had "bad blood" and could receive free medical treatment, rides to the clinic, meals and burial insurance in case of death in return for participating.[2]
yagnyavalkya
Fourteenth century physicians didn't know what caused the plague, but they knew it was contagious. As a result they wore an early kind of bioprotective suit which included a large beaked head piece. The beak of the head piece, which made them look like large birds, was filled with vinegar, sweet oils and other strong smelling compounds to counteract the stench of the dead and dying plague victims.
BinahZ
I believe I remember reading it was the Pox not the plague that was spread purposely to the native american people. Same effect though. A sad part of american history for sure.
mafialive
I believe that the cause of the disease was a matter of concern to many. Many people thought the plague was a scourge from God. I remember learning that it started from infected rats that would jump from ship to ship and this would transfer the disease across Europe. Correct me if I am wrong.
Bannik
BinahZ wrote:
I believe I remember reading it was the Pox not the plague that was spread purposely to the native American people. Same effect though. A sad part of American history for sure.


actually it was any disease that was brought over for example the common cold....they would send sick officers to talk too the native Americans just in the hopes of them getting sick.

again no actual evidence too back this up....but does anyone really have any evidence of the net.,
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