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The Black Plague Essay

1831 words - 8 pages

The Black Plague “The Renaissance Death of England”

Jayne Ritzinger GS102 – Introduction of Life Science September 2, 2009

The Black Plague in a Medieval Perspective “The Renaissance Death of England” The Sixteenth Century and Bubonic Plague The year is 1350 and death has travelled Western Asia and Europe for a decade. The death rate has exceeded 10 million due to the Black Plague, which is the curse of Europe (Bollinger, 1983). Travelling by boat and carriage, the Black Death has infected the known world from Constantinople to London. “The first attack, known since the late sixteenth century as the Black Death but to contemporaries as “the great mortality”, occurred in southern ...view middle of the document...

“This great pestilence, which began at Bristol on [15 August] and in London on [29 September], raged for a whole year in England so terribly that it cleared many country villages entirely of every human being” (Morgan, 1984). England which had been at war for a number of years with France and internally with Ireland and Scotland was now unable to mount an army. The seafarers, who carried much of the plague to Europe and England, also suffered a mortality rate of sixty percent (Bollinger, 1983). The splendor that was once England had now fallen to a small flea carried by a common rat. Hunger and starvation were no longer the primary causes of death, but the agony of the Bubonic Plague. While life was not particularly valued in the lower classes, neither was an acceptable standard of living. The streets of London were covered in filth and sewage making the rat infestation soar. Morgan refers to the great fire of London in 1666, which destroyed most all of common London proper, was credited with “burning out the plague all right and proper” (Morgan, 1984). Morgan in The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain credits change in the ruling of England due to the plague. While no medical or research ability existed, the Mayor and Council of London recognized that the filth and sewage of the lower classes contributed to the plague and its appalling death rate. The mid-1300s also begins the 100 years war where manpower is needed for the army and the navy. A new revival of family and health was necessary for the existence of England as a

continental power in Europe (Bollinger, 1983). The beginning of the 100 years war between England and France; the Anglo-Norman Kingdom and the Kingdom of the King of France (1337-1453). Edward the III of England further established the formal army of England and recognized that its health was a necessity to wage war in France. Bubonic Plague and its Causation Bubonic plague is mainly a disease in rodents and fleas. Infection in a human occurs when a person is bitten by a flea that has been infected by biting a rodent that itself has been infected by the bite of a flea carrying the disease. During rodent plague outbreaks, many animals die and their hungry fleas seek other sources of blood to survive. Plague has a remarkable place in history. For centuries, plague represented disaster for those living in Asia, Africa and Europe, where, it has been said, populations were so affected that sometimes there were not enough people left alive to bury the dead (Gross, 1983). Plague and its Causative Factors “Plague is an infectious disease caused by Yersinia Pestis, a naturally occurring bacterium found primarily in wild rodents. Plague has been the cause of three of the great pandemics of the modern era—in the mid-6th century, the mid-14th century and the early 20th century” (Plague 2009). The incubation period of primary pneumonic plague is 1 to 3 days and is characterized by development of an overwhelming pneumonia with high...

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