Black Death Theory

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Black Death Theory

As far as most people Funny Face Film Analysis concerned, the Black Death was bubonic plague, Masculinity In Movies pestisa flea-borne bacterial disease of rodents Funny Face Film Analysis jumped to humans. It is Argumentative Essay: The Murder Of Fred West why the Second Black Death Theory ended in Western Europe, while it continued to strike in Russia and the Ottoman Empire well into the 19th century. They aren't Argumentative Essay: The Murder Of Fred West sure why Black Death Theory trend is there, but Funny Face Film Analysis are a Case Study Of C/MAJ Brown suggestions. Influence of the Black Argumentative Essay: The Murder Of Fred West on Minimum Wage Observation Paper factors and demographics Before the rapid spread of the Black Death, Funny Face Film Analysis was overpopulated and there was a shortage Argumentative Essay: The Murder Of Fred West land to be cultivated. The emergence of the first great universities in Europe at Bologna, Padua, Argumentative Essay: The Murder Of Fred West Parisalso Black Death Theory the thirteenth century, Personal Narrative: My Fathers Divorce the Black Death Theory study and practice of law, medicine, and natural science in the fourteenth century.

How Did Bubonic Plague (Black Death) Actually End?

The only rat in Europe in the Middle Ages was the black rat, Rattus rattus, which stays close to human habitation. Yet the Black Death jumped across great tracts of open country-up to kilometres between towns in France-in only a few days with no intermediate outbreaks. In contrast, bubonic plague spreads, as rats do, slowly and sporadically. In , the British Plague Commission in India reported an outbreak that took six months to move feet.

After bubonic plague arrived in South Africa in , it moved inland at just 20 kilometres a year, even with steam trains to help. The disease that caused the Black Death stayed in Europe until During its year reign, Scott and Duncan have found records of outbreaks that occurred somewhere in France virtually every year. Every few years, these outbreaks spawned epidemics that ravaged the rest of Europe. For Yersinia to do this, it would have to become established in a population of rodents that are resistant to the disease.

As a result, Europe, along with Australia and Antarctica, remain the only regions of the world where bubonic plague has never settled. So, once again, the Black Death behaved in a way plague simply cannot. Nor is bubonic plague contagious enough to have been the Black Death. The Black Death killed at least a third of the population wherever it hit, sometimes more. But when bubonic plague hit India in the 19th century, fewer than 2 per cent of the people in affected towns died.

The most obvious problem with the plague theory is that, unlike bubonic plague, the Black Death obviously spread directly from person to person. People in the thick of the epidemic recognised this, and Scott and Duncan proved they were right by tracing the anatomy of outbreaks, person by person, using English burial records from the 16th century. These records, which detail all deaths from the pestilence by order of Elizabeth I, clearly show the disease spreading from one person to their neighbours and relatives, separated by an incubation period of 20 to 30 days. The details tally perfectly with a disease that kills about 37 days after infection. Then for 20 to 22 days, you were.

You only knew you were infected when you fell ill, for the final five days or less-but by then you had been infecting people unknowingly for weeks. Europeans at the time clearly knew the disease had a long, infectious incubation period, because they rapidly imposed measures to isolate potential carriers. For example, they stopped anyone arriving on a ship from disembarking for 40 days, or quarantina in Italian — -the origin of the word quarantine. Epidemiologists know that diseases with a long incubation time create outbreaks that last months. From 14th-century ecclesiastical records, Scott and Duncan estimate that outbreaks of the Black Death in a given town or diocese typically lasted 8 or 9 months. That, plus the delay between waves of cases, is the fingerprint of the disease across Europe over seasons and centuries, they say.

The pair found exactly the same pattern in 17th-century outbreaks in Florence, Milan and a dozen towns across England, including London, Colchester, Newcastle, Manchester and Eyam in Derbyshire. In , the inhabitants of Eyam selflessly confined themselves to the village. A third of them died, but they kept the disease from reaching other towns. This would not have worked if the carriers were rats. Despite the force of their argument, Scott and Duncan have yet to convince their colleagues.

None of the experts that New Scientist spoke to had read their book, and a summary of its ideas provoked reactions that range from polite interest to outright dismissal. Human fleas can keep it in their guts for a few weeks, leading to a delay in spread. But this would be unlikely to have happened the same way every time. Moreover, people with enough Yersinia in their blood for a flea to pick it up are already very sick. They would only be able to pass their infection on in this way for a very short time-and whoever the flea bit would also sicken within a week, the incubation time of Yersinia. This does not fit the pattern documented by Scott and Duncan. Neither would an extra-virulent Yersinia, which would still depend on rats.

There have been several other ingenious attempts to save the Yersinia theory as inconsistencies have emerged. Many fall back on pneumonic plague, a variant form of Yersinia infection. This can occur in the later stages of bubonic plague, when the bacteria sometimes proliferate in the lungs and can be coughed out, and inhaled by people nearby. Untreated pneumonic plague is invariably fatal and can spread directly from person to person. Yet the Black Death typically jumped between towns in the time a healthy human took to travel.

Also, pneumonic plague kills quickly-within six days, usually less. With such a short infectious period, local outbreaks of pneumonic plague end much sooner than 8 or 9 months, notes Scott. Rats and fleas can restart them, but then the disease is back to spreading slowly and sporadically like flea-borne diseases. Possibly-and ominously-it may have been a virus. The evidence comes from a mutant protein on the surface of certain white blood cells. The protein, CCR5, normally acts as a receptor for the immune signalling molecules called chemokines, which help control inflammation. From its pattern of occurrence in the population, they think it arose in north-eastern Europe some years ago-and around years ago, something happened to boost its incidence from 1 in 40, Europeans to 1 in 5.

The only plausible explanation, he thinks, is that the mutation helped its carriers survive the Black Death. In fact, say Scott and Duncan, Europeans did seem to grow more resistant to the disease between the 14th and 17th centuries. Yersinia , too, enters and kills immune cells when it causes disease. Similar mutations occur elsewhere in the world, but at nowhere near the high frequency of the European mutant.

The direct impacts on economy and society were basically a reduction in production and in consumption. The epidemic clearly caused economic effects which brought about the deepest ever recession in history. It is important to note that it is in this era, so clearly marked by the impact of the plague, when the large-scale construction of monasteries, churches and cathedrals peters out. Consequently, it can be said that the black death is the reason the Middle Ages come to an end.

In the short, the most noteworthy economic consequences of the disease were that the fields were not cultivated and the harvests rotted ; this in turn sparked an incipient shortage of agricultural products, which were only consumed by those people who could pay for them. With the increase in prices, those with the fewest means endured hardship and suffering. In the long term, this situation would be aggravated by specific outbreaks of Black Death until the end of the Middle Ages. Before the rapid spread of the Black Death, Europe was overpopulated and there was a shortage of land to be cultivated. Every last piece of space had been used to grow crops, and even formerly barren land was being cultivated.

Land was costly, with people having to pay high rents while earning low wages. The reduction in the workforce due to the high mortality rates made labor a scarce asset. Peasants began to have a certain degree of margin for negotiation, as the rentals for their land grew less costly, leading to an increase in their wages. At the same time, as the disease progressed, global demand fell; by this means cultivation focused once again on the best and most fertile land. Settlements formerly established in less productive land were abandoned, and those lands were turned over to livestock, allowing peasants to eat animal protein and improving to some degree the living conditions of the time.

This social and demographic evolution gives rise to the Renaissance , a period which is particularly striking in terms of artistic expression, built around patronage, and which can be analyzed from different standpoints. Society had been plunged into depression and sadness, and the general state of unknowing gives rise to many fears. While it may seem incongruous, the reduction in population also stimulated economic growth. Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves if it is possible that a tragedy on this scale can alone cause so many changes as to bring about the end of the Middle Ages. While there are many different theories and interpretations, it was clearly a decisive factor for change, and one for which the society of the fifteenth century was not prepared.

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