The Black Death was caused by the black plague also known as the pestilence. Besides, it’s known to be the most devastating pandemic to be experienced in human history. It resulted in the estimated deaths of 75 to 200 million people in Europe and some parts of Asia. The pandemic lasted from 1347 to 1351. Bacterium Yersinia pestis is believed to be the cause as it caused other forms of plague such as pneumonia, and septicemic. This plague Furthermore, it was the first-ever major pandemic to hit the European continent.
It originated from the dry parts of Central Asia then traveled to Europe via the Silk Road. Let us discover some more interesting facts about the Black Death.
1. Quarantine was first legislated in Ragusa as “trientine”
The phrase quarantine has been documented to many sources that it was invented in Venice. It means the Isolation or exclusion of people coming from infected regions or those suspected to be infected from mixing with the other population that has not been infected. It included seclusion of 40 days in Venice during the 15 century and with biblical resonances. However, the present-day Dubrovnik (Ragusa at that time) used to perform a 30-day quarantine in 1377 beating the Venetians.
2. Black Death traveled almost 100 times faster compared to bubonic plagues overland
Most people believe that the plague traveled with a rate of one mile per day. However, after analyzing the accounts, Black Death might have traveled in much more speed than one mile per day. These accounts measure that the Black Death traveled at an average speed of 8 miles per day. Conversely, South African scientists in New Orleans and others from bubonic plague affected areas discovered that it only traveled 8 miles in a year. The major reason why the bubonic disease spread slower is that it was highly dependent on the house rat.
3. People that sacrificed their lives were not awarded a saintly status by the church
During the Black Death pandemic period, some people tried to help physically and spiritually. However, none of them were awarded a saintly status by the church. Since the beginning in October 1347 to the early 50 in Sicily contemporary chroniclers decried actions of people abandoning sick people. Also, they criticized doctors and clergymen for reneging their responsibilities while escaping the plagues vicious contagion. Only writers praised the few that nursed the afflicted or ones that lost lives while doing so.
4. The Black Death did not originate from the black rat
Serious monographs and textbooks all point out the black rat as the major cause of the plague without any evidence. Almost any successive plague after the Black Death is associated with the black rats and fleas. However, there is no evidence that contemporary observers pointing out an animal pandemic (epizootic) either from rats or any other rodents. That is before or even after the deadly plague popular as the Black Death.
5. All human attempts to stop the plague did not go in vain
Several cities managed to keep the plague away by devising and implementing quarantine. It was mainly done operating border controls and developing city gates, mountain passes, and harbors. Additionally, travelers were issued with individual health passports. Furthermore, other measures that were taken to help eradicate the spread of the disease were establishing spy signals along with the major cities.