Medieval Britain: The Black Death


The Black Death: 1348

The Black Death began in Asia and spread to Europe by trade routes.

The plague was mainly spread by fleas living on rats but Medieval people did not know this. 

It spread quickly through Britain. By the end of 1349 it had reached the far North of England, Wales and Ireland.

Historians believed that over 40% of people in England died of the Black Death.

Towns and ports were hit the hardest.

Villages and farms high in the hills were safest. 

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Types of the Plague

Buebonic: made people feel suddenly ill, cold and tired. Painful buebos appeared in their armpits and groin. This was followed by high fever and severe headaches. Many lingured unconcious for several days before death. This form of the Black Death was spread through fleas. Death in afew days.

Pneumonic: attacked the victims lungs causing breathing problems. Victim began to cough up blood and died more rapidly then those who had buebonic plague. This form of the Black Death was spread by people breathing or coughing up germs onto one another. Death in two days.

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Different ideas about the causes of the plague

God was punishing the people for thier sins: Flagellants believed that if they hurt themselves god wouldn't send them the plague.

Unusual movements of the planets: Some people made black death cures under a full moon.

Miasma: People carried posies of flowers or burned rosemary and other sweet smelling plants to purify the air. 

Unbalanced or poisoned humours: People put figs and onions onto buebos and cut them. People took a frog and put its body onto buebos so it would burst.

Being too close to an infected person: People didn't want to make eye contact with a plague victim.

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How did people protect themselves

Pure air: Burned rosemary to purify the air in their houses.

Running away: Rich people in towns often moved to the countryside hoping t find pure air.

Flagellants: Whipped themselves hoping for gods forgiveness.

Church: encouraged people to cofess their sins and ask for forgiveness. 

Shutting away: people sometimes shut themselves away in their own houses.

Avoidance: Some householders forced lodgers out onto the street if they showed any signs of the disease. 

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