17 December 2012
During the fourteenth century, all of Europe was impacted heavily due to the incredible pandemic that hit them. This century was ultimately seen as a time of crisis, and was an age of adversity in both Asia and Europe. Famine and plague struck ferociously through the population, and it was brutal and unpleasant for everyone. Life in the fourteenth century became very crazy. Royalty like the Pope were not seen throughout the whole pandemic. The nobles tried to flee to the countryside, and for the middle and lower classes your life expectancy was no longer great.
By 1300, the European economy had reached it limits. Since 1000, the population in Europe had tripled (Kreis np). Forests were cleared, marshes were drained, grain fields were stretched, and still Europe was barely able to feed itself. Unfortunately the weather patterns changed too. The difference of one or two degrees shortens growing seasons and lessened productivity. For a spread of seven years, adverse weather conditions were nearly continuous, and the result was starvation on a large scale (Cole 240). Pre Black Death, Europe was attacked by very cold winters, great floods, a tsunami, and an earthquake that destroyed about fifteen percent of the population (Kreis np).
The plague spread from China to Mongolia, into Northern India, and then into the Middle East by 1330. By 1346 the disease had reached the Black Sea. After that trade ships brought it into Sicily and Northern Italy, inadvertently. In just a short four years it had climbed all the way through the heart of Europe to Scandinavia and Northern Russia (Cole 241). As Western Europe always needed products and items made from East Asia they needed a way to get them. Trade routes would have to be used. Sadly, as all the items were being imported so was an unseen killer. As stated above, in just a short amount of time the plague had spread from the eastern...
Cited: Cole, Joshua et. al. Western Civilizations, Vol. 1. Brief 3rd Edition. (New
York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2012).
Ryder, G. Western Civilization Lecture Notes, Ocean County College,
Kreis, Steven. "The History Guide -- Main." The History Guide -- Main.
N.p., 12 Mar. 1996. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.historyguide.org/>.
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