The Black Plague

The Plague

The plague occurred for the first time in Europe between 1346-1351.

During those years 30-60% of the population died.  It took 150 years for Europe to regain that population.

The plague returned every 5-10 years or so, although with less severity.

A mini-ice-age began in mid-14th century Europe causing smaller crops and consequent famine adding to the susceptibility and weakness of the population.

They died by the hundreds, both day and night, and all were thrown in … ditches and covered with earth. And as soon as those ditches were filled, more were dug. And I, Agnolo di Tura … buried my five children with my own hands … And so many died that all believed it was the end of the world. —The Plague in Sienna: An Italian Chronicle








Effects of the Plague

Massive de-population meant opportunities for some, particularly rural peasants as land became available and wages increased.

The disruption caused many to question the political and religious establishment leading to uprisings and riots.

Riots were sometimes directed at local populations of Jews, thousands were killed as scapegoats for the plague.

The concentration of wealth in the cities left the rich with greater power which was one of the causes of capitalism.


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