The Plague In The Late Middle Ages

Submitted By stubing78
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The late middle ages were a period of European history during the 14th and 15th century (1300-1500). Many bad events happened during this time such as Black Death, and the fall of Constantinople in 1453, which lead to the age of exploration. The Black Death and the Great Famine reduced the European population by half and the age of exploration change the world forever. “The Black Death reached the shores of Italy in the spring of 1348 unleashing a rampage of death across Europe unprecedented in record history” ("Eyewitness to History", 2001). The plague came in three different forms the bubonic variant, pneumonic plague, and the septicemia version. The bubonic version of the plague is the most common and spread by infected fleas that bit humans and animals. Infected ones would develop tumors ranging in size from an egg to an apple on their necks armpits or growing areas. Some would survive but most of the infected would die within a week of the lesion. The second version of the plague was pneumonic, which attacked the respiratory system. The pneumonic plague spread by breathing the same air as the infected. The third version the septicemia attacked the blood system. People died by the thousands. Many people died in their homes unknowingly until someone could smell their rotting body from outside. Many brought the infected to churches to die and be buried, but there were not enough room to bury every victim, so instead “they were forced to dig huge trenches, where they buried the bodies by hundreds” ("Eyewitness to History", 2001).
The Great Famine of 1315 caused many to die because of shortage of food. “By the beginning of the 14th century, however, the population had grown to such an extent that the land could provide enough resources to support it only under the best of conditions”("The Great Famine (1315-1317) And The Black Death (1346-1351)", 2005-2010). It started with the climate change of cooler and wetter summers. The wet spring of in 1315 made getting the field ready for cultivation difficult, plus the heavy rains rotted the seeds before germination. This resulted in a shortage of food that year hoping the people could live on until next year. “People gathered what food they could from the forests: edible roots, plants, grasses, nuts, and bark” ("The Great Famine (1315-1317) And The Black Death (1346-1351)", 2005-2010). While everyone was hoping for the weather to go back to usual, the next year of 1316 was cold and wet once more. In result to this relapse numerous people died of starvation because there was not enough food to feed such a large population. Food shortages at this point were nearly bare because the food reserve was still making up for the previous loss. “By the spring of 1317, all classes of society were suffering, although, as might be expected, the lower classes suffered the most” ("The Great Famine (1315-1317) And The Black Death (1346-1351)", 2005-2010). The elderly volunteered to starve themselves to the point of death, so the younger members of their family could survive. At this point, starvation was awful and cannibalism was reported numerously. The weather had started to return to normal by the summer of 1317, but not until 1325 that the food