The Black Plague

The Black Plague
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Storyboard Description

This short comic strip illustrates how the Black Plague was able to spread so far so quickly and briefly discusses the historical impact of the Black Plague.

Storyboard Text

  • Present Day
  • That is an excellent question. Let us start from the beginning...
  • I don't understand...how did the Black Plague impact Europe?
  • 1338-1339
  • ~1340s
  • In order to understand the significance of the Black Plague, we must first learn the history of the epidemic.
  • 1348
  • We often focus on the impact of the Black Plague on Europe, but the origins of the disease have actually been traced back to Peking (modern Beijing), China. From there it rapidly spread west via trade routes stemming from the Silk Road. 
  • 1348
  • Trade routes by land were not the only way that the Black Plague was able to spread. Rats carrying the infected fleas travelled on boats, bringing the disease with them.
  • 1353
  • The fleas were brought to cities by the horses and rates that followed merchants. Once in the cities, the plague rapidly spread, claiming victims mercilessly.
  • Sanitation and medicine were rudimentary at best. Doctors that did not avoid the sick out offear recommended treatments like bathing in rosewater, washing floors withvinegar, burning lemon, or wearing linen. More than 25 million people died.
  • Between 1347 and 1353, the Black Plague killed 40-60% of Europe's population. Because so many people had died, social reforms took place and society was able to “start over” economically and feudalism came to an end.
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