9 Not-So-Fun Facts About the Black Death – Bubonic Plague

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9 Not-So-Fun Facts About the Black Death – Bubonic Plague

9 Not-So-Fun Facts About the Black Death – Bubonic Plague

The Black Death arrived in Europe in the 14th century, and the landscape of that continent was changed forever (as well as much of the rest of the world), as nearly one-third of its population was wiped out. Here are some other horrible facts about the Black Death – Bubonic Plague.

The plague


The Black Death indicates a specific outbreak of a few different types of plagues. In the beginning, it was known as the “Great Pestilence” or the “Great Plague,” only picking up the “Black Death” moniker a few centuries later.

Ships of death

The Black Death arrived on the shores of Europe in 1347 when a dozen Genoan ships docked at a Sicilian port after traveling through the Black Sea. The sailors on board were either dead or dying, and even though they were hastily sent away, it was too late and the disease soon took hold.

Yersinia pestis


The Black Death is believed to have been caused by a little horrible bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Its favorite host? Rodents, like marmots and rats. It can easily be transmitted by fleas, which unfortunately, like to bite humans, too.

Airborne, too

One form of the plague, pneumonic plague, has the additional awful ability to be transmitted via airborne droplets, making it even easier to spread.

Sick and dying abandoned

Since nobody really knew how the disease was spread, the sick and dying were abandoned in droves. Doctors refused to treat patients, and priests refused to administer last rites.

A quick death


The Black Death killed quickly. Reports indicate that it was usually only a matter of days before the victims died as a result of the disease.

Contemporary explanations

At a loss to explain what was happening, many thought that it was a punishment from God for mankind’s sins.

Estimated total death: 75 million



It’s difficult to wrap your mind around the massive death toll caused by the Black Death. Estimates come in at around 75 million worldwide, with 20 million of those deaths occurring in Europe. Some estimates, however, are upwards of 200 million.

It’s still around

Yep, you can still get the plague. Fortunately, it is now easily treated with modern-day antibiotics, but in underdeveloped areas, it can still spark a pandemic — it did as recently as 1994 in India.

Related topics Black Death, medicine, plague
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