The Basics Struck Europe between 1347 and 1351 Many believe it started in Central Asia, possibly in China, and spread through India, the Middle East, and eventually into Europe through the trading routes. Bacteria that caused the plague was spread through fleas that fed on the blood of the infected rats. Even if the rat died the fleas could jump to other animals or people.
Something to think about… There was a reported case of the Bubonic Plague in 2010 in the United States. You probably never even heard about it? Why is it today that in 2014 one or two people were infected but didn’t die but in 1348 it killed up to 75 million?
1348 People believe they were being punished by God. City streets were filled with human waste, dead animals and trash. The idea of hygiene wasn’t really important to Europeans until the 19 th century. Could not bury the bodies fast enough which lead to increased infection.
Doctor’s Outfit The Bubonic Plague was extremely contagious. However, doctors invented an outfit that they thought would protect them when they went to visit their infected patients. Take 30 seconds to think about what you think it might have looked like….. Mmmm, not like this…
Explanation: Was the sign of a doctor. Early form of a gas mask. People also thought it was “bad air” that spread the disease. The nose piece usually contained herbs and spices. Mask also often had red eye pieces to block the “evil.” Covered in wax and used to protect the body (or so they thought). Used to direct people and to avoid direct contact with the body.
So what happened? Many people died, therefore, workers were in demand and could ask for a much better pay and rights. To fill jobs, serfs left the manor to look for better jobs in towns or cities where Lords and Kings had no power over them. Many people lost faith in the Church because they had been told that it was their sins that caused the plague to occur, and it was only their faith that would cause it to go away. Many groups like Jews, beggars, foreigners were blamed and killed for bringing the plague.
A survivor’s Tale “How many valiant men, how many fair ladies, breakfast with their kinfolk and the same night supped with their ancestors in the next world! The condition of the people was pitiable to behold. They sickened by the thousands daily, and died unattended and without help. Many died in the open street, others dying in their houses, made it known by the stench of their rotting bodies. Consecrated churchyards did not suffice for the burial of the vast multitude of bodies, which were heaped by the hundreds in vast trenches, like goods in a ship hold and covered with a little earth.”