The Black Plague

Main Points

1. The Black Plague started in China.
2. The Black Plague affect all people but the poor were most affected because they couldn't afford the proper necessities, so they were more exposed.
3. The plague spent 15 years in Asia before it spread to Europe.
4. The plague that affected most was the Bubonic Plague.
5. Rat fleas were the main spreader of the plague.

external image Bubonic_plague_map.PNG
This is a map of where the plague hit and when.


The plague started spreading in China where there were many earthquakes, droughts and other natural disasters.It traveled through West Asia. The plague was used as a weapon in Akila The Huns conquest of Asia. He did this by throwing people with the plague over the enemy's walls. By 1346 it spread to Caspian Sea. It took 15 years before the plague spread to Europe. Once it spread to Europe it attacked Sicily and contact with any person infected by the disease would spread the black plague. It spread through central cities of Italy such as Genoa, and Venice, killing thirty percent of Italy and one third of Europe. Ships that were entering Venice would be carefully inspected for foreigners or corpses. If they were found the ship would be burned.

external image Flea-777070.jpg

This is a picture of a rat flea which was the main carrier of the Black Plague

Types of the Plague

There were three types of the Black Plague. They were the Bubonic Plague, the Pneumonic Plague and the Septicemic Plague. The Bubonic Plague was spread by fleas and caused lymph glands in the groin or the arm pit which swelled and formed buboes. The Pneumonic Plague attacked the lungs and was most infectious of the three kinds of plagues. This type was spread directly from person to person from coughing. The rarest and most dangerous type of the three plagues was Septicemic which was spread by fleas and attacked the blood stream. People who caught this type of Black Plague would fall down dead in hours. The rat fleas spread to the the rodents and once the rodents died the fleas spread it to humans. The dirty cities were perfect for the black rats. They fed on peoples food and garbage and they could run between the cracks of the houses. The rats quickly spread the disease as well. People of these towns did not bathe, making it more likely that they would be infected by the rats.

Attempted Treatments [[#medicine2

There were many attempted treatments to heal people who were infected by the black plague. The treatments ranged from mixing complex potions which the maker would die before they could even drink it they would use herbs for this. People were also bathed in urine which was not necessarily there own urine and could make the dieses worse. There were also ways to "not" get infected, one extremely gruesome one was to bring the animals of the household into the house and live with them. This would attract many rats which carried the fleas that carried the dieses, which eventually killed them. So as you can see none of the treatments worked at all. Some people did however come up with seful things to do with the dead such as burn them whixh would help keep others safe from it. Bloodletting was also an option of treatment.


There were many thoughts of the cause of the terrible disease. France was already suffering from the war that had previously happened. Many people got sick from not having enough food. Most people believed that it was a punishment from God because of their sins. Some people looked to astrology. The thought that Mars, Jupitar, and Saturn passed close together in 1345. The people thought that it was possible that they brought the disease with them. Some people thought that earthquakes, floods and natural disasters brought the disease but no specific cause has ever been identified. Some people blamed the Jewish People for spreading the disease. They burned the Jews alive if they were even suspected of carrying it.

The Plagues Final Hour

In 1351 the plague had finished its climax and yet the pain and suffering had just begun.The people who survived the vicious onslaught of the plague felt no longer connected to each other any more. The people started becoming more pessimistic and individualistic. The years after the end of the plague painters showed vivid pictures of what happened and seemed to even make the pessimists even more angry and mad. Even though the people of Europe were getting angrier and angrier the farmers realized that they had some great things going for them. SInce now that one-third of Europe's population died, workers could ask for higher wages but soon there were fights between land owners and workers and in one severe case there was a revolt in England. While the working class was in revolt the church started to crumble and soon they were ushering in inadiqute members for the church which made people more mad. However the worst was over and Europe was recovering.


Senker, Cath. The Black Death 1347-1350.Chicago Illionis: Reed Elsevier Inc, 2006

Europe map source:
Picture of rat flea source:

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Hunted Reviewed by Ms. Milana Krush