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The Black Plague in Europe 1347-1351

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1 The Black Plague in Europe

2 Spread of the Plague  Black rats carried fleas that were infested with Yersina pestis (a bacteria)  Fleas were transferred from rats to people  Medieval people did not bathe; most had fleas and lice already  Garbage and sewage were thrown into the streets, which became a breeding ground for rats  Rats traveled along trade routes, spreading the plague throughout Europe and Asia

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4 Victims of the Plague Victims of the Plague  Took four years to reach all of Europe  50 – 75% of those infected with the plague died  Almost 25 million in Europe  Victims were buried in mass graves  Some villages were completely deserted  Black Plague Black Plague Black Plague  Returned every few years  Never as severe  Still a few cases each year

5 Bubonic  swollen, tender lymph nodes  Neck  Groin  armpits  bacterial infection in the lymph nodes  affects immune system  spread only through fleas  Fatality – 30-75% of cases (after 4 days of infection)

6 Septicemic  bleeding under the skin or in organs  bacterial infection of the blood  Causes gangrene in the extremities  spread only through fleas  can appear as a complication of untreated bubonic or pneumonic plague  Fatality – 95% of cases (after 2-3 days of infection)

7 Pneumonic  bloody or watery discharge from respiratory system  bacterial infection of the lungs  can be spread person to person  if bubonic or septicemic plague is left untreated, it can spread to lungs  Fatality – 95% of cases (same day as infection) (same day as infection)

8 Attempted Cures  Doctors did not understand how the plague was spread  poisonous fog  Jews or lepers poisoned the wells  Astrological alignments  Earthquakes  Glances from sick people  Told people to…  Stay away from noxious air  Bleed or purge themselves  Keep bodily humors balanced (blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm)

9 Effects of the Plague  Town populations fell  Trade declined, and prices of goods rose  Serfs left the manor in search of better wages  Nobles resisted peasants’ demands for higher wages  Peasant revolts in England, France, Italy and Belgium  Jews were blamed for the plague  Driven from the homes, or brutally attacked  Church suffered from loss of prestige  Prayers failed to stop the plague  Priests abandoned their duties  Appearance of flagellants

10 refers to the Great Plague in London (1665) Some believe it may even have references to the plague in the 1300s “ Ring Around the Rosy ” - The symptoms of the plague included a rosy red rash in the shape of a ring on the skin “ Pockets Full of Posies ” - were filled with sweet smelling herbs ( or posies) which were carried due to the belief that the disease was transmitted by bad smells. “ Ashes, Ashes ” - refers to the cremation of the dead bodies “ We All Fall Down ” - The death rate was over 60% and the plague was only halted by the Great Fire of London in 1666 which killed the rats carrying the disease Ring around the Rosy

11 Today’s Assignment  Orange group – compare and contrast the three types of the Black Plague  Green group – create a graphic organizer that explains the effects of the Black Plague  Blue Group – read the Introduction from the Decameron and answer the attached questions


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