Black Death
(1348-1350)

thing and pandemic

Died aged c. 2

The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality, or the Plague) was the deadliest pandemic recorded in human history. The Black Death resulted in the deaths of up to 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351. Plague, the disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, was the cause; Y. pestis infection most commonly results in bubonic plague, but can cause septicaemic or pneumonic plagues. The Black Death was the beginning of the second plague pandemic. The plague created religious, social, and economic upheavals, with profound effects on the course of European history. The Black Death most likely originated in Central Asia or East Asia, from where it travelled along the Silk Road, reaching Crimea by 1347. From there, it was most likely carried by fleas living on the black rats that travelled on Genoese merchant ships, spreading throughout the Mediterranean Basin and reaching Africa, Western Asia, and the rest of Europe via Constantinople, Sicily, and the Italian Peninsula. Current evidence indicates that once it came onshore, the Black Death was in large part spread by human fleas – which cause pneumonic plague – and the person-to-person contact via aerosols which pneumonic plague enables, thus explaining the very fast inland spread of the epidemic, which was faster than would be expected if the primary vector was rat fleas causing bubonic plague. The Black Death was the second disaster affecting Europe during the Late Middle Ages (the first one being the Great Famine) and is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population. In total, the plague may have reduced the world population from an estimated 475 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century. There were further outbreaks throughout the Late Middle Ages, and with other contributing factors it took until 1500 for the European population to regain the levels of 1300. Outbreaks of the plague recurred at various locations around the world until the early 19th century.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Elliott Brown on Flickr

The 'Black Death' entered England in 1348 through this port. It killed 30-50% of the country's total population

Vaughan's Restaurant, 7 Custom House Quay, Melcombe Regis, Weymouth, United Kingdom where it entered England through this port (1348-1350)