The Black Death. Name. A HenryTudor.co.uk Production. What is the Black Death?.
A bacteria-born disease, Yersinia Pestis, carried in the blood of wild Black rats and the fleas that lived on the rats. When the rats died, the fleas searched for another host, when it was a human being the disease moved to the human population. Originated in the Far Eastern trading routes, transferred by ships and sailors.
It was first seen in Messina, Sicily in 1347, a trading vessel from Caffa came ashore with the disease. When the disease was found to come from the shore, the harbour was closed forcing ships to other ports, this spread the disease further.
The Black Death plague was instrumental in killing nearly half the population of England between 1348 and 1350. The population dropped from 5 million to 3 million, London lost 30,000 of its 70,000 inhabitants where primitive sanitation aided its spread. Closed communities like prisons and monasteries were hard hit, over 60% of their populations died.
Over 40% of England’s priests died in the epidemic, their places taken by under qualified, unscrupulous applicants who turned the church into an enterprise and alienated the population thus accelerating the decline of the church’s power and helping the move to the English reformation.
The swelling around the neck gave rise to the nursery Rhyme “Ring a ring a roses” When they all met around the neck you were dead.
Fear of the plague lasted for 300 years
The most common form of the plague was the fist sized swellings in the groin, armpits and neck of its victims where the fleas bit, these were called the Buboes, the name of this form of plague then became Bubonic Plague. The painful swellings were red at first but soon turned purple with bruising. The victims died 2 to 6 days later. Other forms were air borne and caused pneumonia, named Pneumonic Plague , another by entering the blood stream was called Septicemic Plague and would kill within a day.
The changes in England
Religious people were so scared of dying without a priest present that the Pope gave absolution to whole nations at once. Racial and religious discrimination began as people looked for someone to blame. Farms, food production deteriorated, the surfedom system collapsed, rebellion of workers began. The Church was never the same, the people began to mistrust the clergy for not protecting them.