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The Black Plague

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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 England in 1348; by the end of 1349 it had spread to Central Scotland” (Morgan, 1984). Rats and the lice that traveled on them were the common cause, but the Sixteenth Century had no such mechanism to identify the causation of the plague “Plague is characterized by periodic disease outbreaks in rodent populations, some of which have a high death rate. During these outbreaks, hungry infected fleas that have lost their normal hosts seek other sources of blood, thus escalating the increased risk to humans and other animals frequenting the area” (Plague, 2009). As defined by the Center for Disease Control, the Black Plague is defined as follows: Plague is an infectious disease of animals and humans caused by a bacterium named Yersinia Pestis. Epidemics of plague in humans usually involve house rats and their fleas. Rat-borne epidemics continue to occur in some developing countries, particularly in rural areas.

Over one-third of England’s and Great Britain’s population died from 1348 to 1350 because of the Bubonic Plague epidemic (Morgan, 1984). “The death was wretched and the plague took all, young and old, rich and poor, commoner and King”. England and the “Black Death” The time of...

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