The black death was the worst epidemic and the greatest catastrophe that is registered in human history.
Black Death pandemic was spread in the year 1346-53 in Europe. The epidemic took lives of around 50 million people that means 60% of the population of Europe.
Let us know in detail about this most devastating pandemics.
- This bubonic plague death arrived in Europe through the ships. When 12 Genoese trading ship docked at the Sicilian port of Messina in October 1347.
- They arrived after a long journey through the black sea so people gathered to greet them but what they saw was horrifying they saw that most of the sailor travelling on the ship were dead and the people who were still alive were seriously ill. They were having a fever, suffering from pain and were fully covered with black boils from which blood and pus were oozing. And thus the name “Black Death”.
- Black death is caused due to a bacillus called Yersinia pestis. This can pass through person to person by air, or by biting off an infected flea or by rats.
- Florence’s one of the greatest Renaissance poets Petrarch said that people will not accept the fact and believe it as a fable. He said, ‘O happy posterity, who will not experience such abysmal woe and will look upon our testimony as a fable.’ Following line by Florentine chronicler showcases the worst condition that people suffered from
“ All the citizens did little else except to carry dead bodies to be buried […] At every church they dug deep pits down to the water table, and thus those who were poor who died during the night were bundled up quickly and thrown into the pit. In the morning when a large number of bodies were found in the pit, they took some earth and shovelled it down on top of them; and later others were placed on top of them and then another layer of earth, just as one makes lasagne with layers of pasta and cheese.”
- During the 1340s, this plague was spread across China, India, Persia, Syria, and Egypt as well. This disease that time used to spread through infected black rats. Black rats who were called as ‘house rats’ or ‘ship rats’ lived close to people.
- During this time neither the doctor nor the commoners knew how to prevent it or treat it. Physicians relied on crude and unsophisticated techniques such as bloodletting and boil-lancing (practices that were dangerous as well as unsanitary) and superstitious practices such as burning aromatic herbs and bathing in rose water or vinegar.
- During this period a famous rhyme”Ring a ring-a-roses, Pocket full of posies, Ashes, ashes, We all fall down!” which we used to recite during childhood was originated.
- This disease has not been completely eliminated but is reduced by our modern technique of sanitation and improvement in health practices.