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The Black Plague

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The Black Plague Then

The people of the Crimea were dying from a plague. Believing it was a foreign disease brought to their shores by Italian merchants, the people of the East got back at the Italians by exposing them to the corpses of the victims.

Ships arrived from Caffa at the port of Messina, Sicily. A few dying men clung to the oars; the rest lay dead on the decks. Ships carrying the good the Italians wanted now came with the plague.

Turned away from Messina, ships traveled on to Genoa and other European ports, making the disease spread to the heart of Europe. The plague came ashore with the surviving sailors and the goods stored in the ship.

Florence was the first of the cities of Europe to feel the full force of the epidemic. When it was over between 45,000 and 65,000 Florentines were dead of the plague.

People traveled to the countryside to escape what was happing in the cities and the plague traveled with them.

People wrote to family members telling them of the spread of the plague and what to expect. Many people fled the cities only to find that the Black Death was already there.

In three years time, the plague spread throughout Europe and killed so many people they had no place to bury the people who had died. People blamed the plague on ethnic groups and those people suffered from persecution. Others blamed the plague on foul winds from the east or from earthquakes.

In London, when the plague reached there, it killed fifty percent of the people there and the people that remained healthy or survived the Black Death were sure that it was the end of the world.

The Black Plague Now

We know now that the Black Death is called the Bubonic Plague and is caused by the bacteria Yersinia Pestis . This Bacteria was transmitted by fleas that bit infected rats and then bit humans.

Humans could also contact the disease by breathing in the secretions of those they were taking care of when they were ill. This was known as Pneumonic Plague and was far more deadly than Bubonic Plague, people would often die within three days of exposure that way.

With modern medicine, the Bubonic Plague is treatable and curable today and we do not have to worry that

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