Sometimes a disease changes everything. In Western Europe, it all started with fleas on rats.
Life was already hard in Western Europe during the 1300s. Food prices had risen and hunger and starvation increased.
And then, a terrible disease entered Western Europe along trade routes from Asia. In a few years, this disease led to the deaths of one-third of Western Europe’s population.
How did the Bubonic Plague enter Western Europe?
Infected fleas on rats bit people and these infected people spread the disease through coughing and breathing.
The disease’s formal name was Bubonic Plague but people called it the Black Death.
In 1348, Bubonic Plague entered Western Europe. Buboes or swellings and black spots formed on victims.
Infected people usually died within a few days.
The Black Death entered Western Europe in 1347 and in a few short years, destroyed one-third of the Population.
There were fewer people left to work and pay taxes. As the population decreased, other changes occurred.
A decrease in population led to decreases in food prices and increases in wages. Can you figure out why?
Do you know why the relationship between supply and demand is important?
Supply and demand determine price.
Fewer people meant fewer people left to work, buy food, and pay taxes. So, food prices dropped and wages rose.
As the population declined, serfs were given greater rights and eventually serfdom ended in Western Europe. The feudal system began fall apart.
The plague changed everything. It was one of the factors that led to the decline of the Middle Ages and a new era in Western Europe.
After all this death, people wanted life again.
The Big Seven: • What was the Bubonic Plague? • Why was it called the Black Death? • Where did the disease originate? • How did the disease enter Europe? • What percentage of the population died? • How did the disease affect food prices? • How did the disease affect wages?