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Pages:
4 pages/≈1100 words
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3 Sources
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MLA
Subject:
History
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Term Paper
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English (U.S.)
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Research And Describe Black Death (Bubonic Plague) (Term Paper Sample)

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What caused the Black Death (bubonic plague), and why did it spread so quickly throughout Western Europe? Where was it most virulent? What does the case of the Black Death suggest about the role disease may play in shaping history?

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Black Death (Bubonic plague)
Introduction
The Black Death is among the most horrible catastrophes in the history of the world. It brought the continent to its knees, altering the social and economic fabric forever while decimating its population, in the years of 1346-1353. The outbreak spread rapidly across medieval Europe as the continent sought ways of expanding their methods of exchanging goods. Ole Benedictow, in his article The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever estimated that the outbreak killed approximately fifty million people who were sixty percent of the population of Europe (Benedictow 42). The onset of Black Death in Europe was in 1347 when trading ships from Genoese docked at the Sicilian port of Messina. However, instead of merchandises, the sailors brought the disease that threatened the survival of Europe. The research will discuss what caused the disease, why it spread rapidly throughout Europe, the areas most affected and what the condition suggest as the part diseases may play in influencing history.
Causes of the Black Death
The Bubonic epidemic was a pandemic that broke out in Asia, African and Europe. Present research by scientists according to MedicineNet document that the epidemic occurred due to the Yersinia pestis bacteria commonly found in rodents such as rats and fleas. The plague occurred in a combination of three plagues namely, the bubonic plagues caused by bites by rodents, the pneumonic plague that attacked people's respiratory system after inhaling air produced by sick people while the septicemic plague spread through bites by infected fleas into the bloodstream (MedicineNet). Once the rodents become infected, they carried the plague bacteria, which they spread to fleas that fed on them. According to Ole Benedictow, wild rodents live in high numbers known as plague reservoirs of black rats around human population. During this era, the black rats, also known as the house rate and fleas could be found everywhere in Europe especially in merchant ships that traversed various continents. Thus, their high numbers accentuated the prevalence of the epidemic (Benedictow 42).
Why the Black Death epidemic spread quickly throughout Western Europe
Once the onset of the Black Death began in China and was introduced in the shores of the Sicilian port of Messina in 1347, it spread across Europe to various cities such as Marseilles, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Germany and eventually in Russia by 1350 (Mark, Howitt &Denis 286-287). Its spread all over Europe was possible due to various calamitous circumstances. According to Mark, Howitt, and Denis, from the eleventh century, European explorers set the pace for opening up the world through trading activities. The interest of exploration led to European countries such as Spain pushing for the discovery of sea trade routes. Thus, the European sailors pushed further into unknown waters and new lands, opening up the

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