The black death claimed 60 percent of Europe’s population.
In the year 1347, the worst epidemic in recorded history raged over Europe. Picture a pandemic murdering 60 percent of Europe’s population. The bubonic plague, also known as Black Death, killed an estimated 155 to 200 million people.
Twelve ships landed in England’s Sicilian port in October 1347. When the townspeople arrived, they were met with the horrifying sight of sailors. Almost everyone was either dead or on the verge of death. Locals saw men with swollen lymph moving unsteadily with trembling limbs as if they were being summoned by death. Witnesses characterized the scene as “dance macabre,” which translates to “dance of death.”
Their skin was tainted by blackish boils that spilled blood and pus, which the locals referred to as “buboes.” Bubonic Plague was named after this. The ships were told to sail away by the authorities, but it was too late. The harm was already done. It was the beginning of the bubonic plague in Europe, which is regarded as one of the worst catastrophes in history.
Europe was the most affected by this disease, yet it was not the first victim of the Black Death. What was previously rumored in Europe as the dreadful disease raging through Asia was now in town. Before reaching Europe, the disease traveled through China, India, Persia, and Syria. Across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South Africa, many people perished to the black death. None, however, comes close to the horrors inflicted on Europe. The epidemic was unstoppable when it initially began to spread.
Those who became infected with the black death had inflammation of their lymph nodes in the groin region, necks, limbs, and beneath the arms. The swelling would grow from the size of a walnut to the size of an egg, resulting in blackish blue boils. In the worst-case scenario, the swelling might expand to the size of an apple of blackish-purple tint. The name “black death” came from the plague’s blackish swelling. The swollen area would bleed blood and pus. Victims of the bubonic plague would suffer most typical symptoms such as fever, pain, chills, sweating, upset stomach, and diarrhea followed by vomiting blood, all of which led to death.
The bacteria was transmitted through mere skin contact or contact with the victim’s outerwear. Victims of the bubonic plague would die within a week. By the time a victim was taken by the sickness in a town or village, the others would already be in the early stages of infection. At the time, it was thought that the souls of those who died as a result of the black death haunted the cities and cursed others with the plague.
Although some smaller European islands were spared, Other European cities saw a mortality toll of up to 30 percent, with total deaths ranging from 50 to 70 million. The fatalities, according to some sources, are 60 percent, with total deaths ranging from 155 to 200 million. The casualties in Florence, Italy, were 90 percent. The sickness claimed the lives of cows, goats, pigs, and other livestock. Countless people abandoned the cities and ran for their lives, yet it was all for nothing.
The black death swept out every kingdom’s defenses. It even made it to Russia, which Napoleon and Hitler were unable to do. People were well one day and dead the next. For the first several days, there were no symptoms. As a result, isolation was impossible. Because there were not enough people to bury the deceased, they were seen as abandoned where they died. Nature claimed the towns and replaced them with forests. Ariel photography relocated some places that had been lost to nature after World War I.
The sickness was airborne and was transmitted through simple touch, including coughing or sneezing. There was also no scientific expertise to combat the pandemic in the medical sector. Most of the valuable information was lost during the dark ages of science in England. Lice and fleas were thought to be the carriers of the bubonic plague bacteria “Yersinia Pestis” in squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, mice, and chickens.
According to one idea, urban mice are both the carriers and the origins of the Black Death. The symptoms of urban mice were strikingly comparable to those of people. After a large number of rodents died, fleas would hunt for a new host to feast on. Which, due to a lack of smaller creatures, would occasionally turn out to be people.
This theory appears relevant to the rapid spread of the Black Death in several European locations. Rodents would nest in ships because they were dark and moist, and it provided a comfortable habitat for them. Thus, the bubonic plague was spread all over the world by those death ships. Later research revealed that human fleas and lice had a greater resemblance to the manner of transmission of the Bubonic Plague than nonhuman pests. This manner of spread was shown to be comparable to 7 out of 9 plagues in the past.
Scientists discovered that it was not just the black death germs that created this much horror. Upon retrieving mass buried remains from graves, anthrax spores were also discovered on the bodies of the deceased. Anthrax spores are spread by naturally existing anthrax bacteria in the soil. With therapy, 55 percent of patients survive anthrax. In Europe, these bacteria were mixed with the bubonic plague, and no sufferer survived to see another day. Anthrax likely left the person vulnerable to the ultimate blow of the bubonic plague. Or the plague preyed on people who were already infected with anthrax.
So, what steps did medical professionals take to treat the infected? As I already stated, medical knowledge was not particularly advanced. Attempts at therapy were usually unsuccessful. Frequently resulted in the death of the patient or the unintended spread of the epidemic. Blood Lettering, a prominent medical treatment at the time, was widely applied. For blood to circulate freely, medical specialists would cut into the patient’s veins and arteries in the neck and arms. It was not a new technique. This approach had been used since ancient Egypt. And that wasn’t the only unusual either.
Another procedure employed by medical practitioners was boil lancing. And in case you’re wondering. It is precisely how it sounds. To drain boils, surgeons would lance them with a heated pointed knife or needle. This did not benefit and, in most cases, poisoned the host due to the dead blood and pus. Other techniques, such as herbal therapy and cleansing with rosewater or vinegar, were equally ineffective in curing the condition.
The bacteria is said to have become more lethal as a result of malnutrition and poor treatment methods for the victims. Their immune systems were also weakened by storms and droughts. After a string of failures, hospitals began to refuse new patients infected with the Black death bacteria. The churches closed their doors to the public, and priests refused to conduct last rites for the deceased for their safety. Where men failed, nature did nothing to help either.
The Black Death’s cause is still unknown. Some believe it evolved in Asia’s Gobi desert in the early 14th century. It is also said to be a century-old Asian illness that surfaced frequently. Even though there is no evidence to back any of these claims, the illness still exists. It is no longer as lethal as it once was because a remedy is now accessible.