ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Where Was the Bubonic Plague From?

Updated on June 14, 2012
Poor Porky
Poor Porky
The Great Silk Road
The Great Silk Road
Caravans on Silk Road, present time
Caravans on Silk Road, present time

There are two ways to think about the question..

One is to consider where ,in a geographical sense, the bubonic plague broke before racing through human population. The other is to consider where biologically, a disease so deadly to humans evolved.

Society depends on agriculture and trade, From the nomadic groups to the first settled communities, humans and animals live in very close proximity. Most diseases that affect us to have come from the pests that infect them. In the case of the bubonic plague, it has been suggested that the disease came from the pigs. These animals suffer from a disease similar to the plague that is transmitted by fleabites. It is not difficult to imagine that fleas infecting pigs could also have been drawn to cats, dogs and rats, eventually transferring the disease to humans. There has long been an awareness that the bubonic plague might have come from animals. In the Old Testament, the book of Samuel suggests that mice carried the disease.

THE BLACK DEATH

When we think of the bubonic plague, we usually mean the "Black Death" of the mid-fourteenth century. In fact there is evidence to indicate that the plague had broken out in different societies over a much longer period. An Egyptian medical text refers to a plague -like disease as long ago as 1500 B.C.E.; and archeological evidence suggests that outbreaks had occurred 2,000 years before even that. The Byzantine Empire was rocked by a plague in the sixth century C.E. that, at its height, may have killed as many as 10,000 people a day in Constantinople.

The difficulty is that we cannot be sure that these plagues were the the same "bubonic" plague that broke out in the Middle Ages. Some of the scientists argue that what we call the bubonic plague today may not have been the disease that swept across Europe in the fourteenth century. They note that the bubonic plague is a bacterial infection and is slow to be transmitted. It has been proposed that the plague of the Middle Ages was a viral infection, more like the Ebola- and every bit as deadly. This is a minority view at present.

FROM EAST TO WEST

Geographically, the most likely place that the bubonic plague came from was Central Asia. There were three factors that allowed it to spread into the wider world, the most important of which was trade . The overland route from Asia to Europe, the Silk Road, had been established for centuries and was supplemented by sailing routes across the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. Trading caravans and merchant vessels almost certainly carried the infection from its starting point.

The migration of the disease was made easier by two other factors:

One, In the Islamic Middle East and Christian Europe, pilgrimages were seen as a religious duty. The pilgrims made excellent hosts for the bubonic plague as they returned to their homes. The mid-fourteenth century was also a period marked by conflicts that enhanced the potential for a new disease to spread.

In the trading port of Kaffa on the coast of the Black Sea, the Tartars besieged traders from Genoa and Venice, When the attackers were afflicted by bubonic plague, they catapulted the dead bodies into the city. The disease broke out there and was carried in the trading ships as people fled in 1347. The survivors later introduced the Black Death to mainland Europe, with catastrophic consequences.

It seems most likely that the medieval outbreak of the bubonic plague came from somewhere in Central Asia and spread outward.We know that it was a result of close interaction of humans and domestic animals, and we know that it has been more virulent at some times than others. WE also know that it is still with us, and that the World Health Organization (WHO) records about 3,000 cases a year- so one day it could be coming to a place near you.

Powerful little critter isn't he?
Powerful little critter isn't he?
Ebola Star crossed Lovers   I know i'm just teasing, why do we have to be serious all the time? ha ha ha!
Ebola Star crossed Lovers I know i'm just teasing, why do we have to be serious all the time? ha ha ha!

DID YOU KNOW THAT...

  • The bacteria that cause bubonic plague are carried in the gut of the flea. As the bacteria thrive, they begin to block the gut, causing the flea to become hungrier and so bite more often. Even bite transfers bacteria to the victim
  • The bubonic plague is estimated to have killed 25 million people in Europe during the fourteenth century. This was approximately a quarter of the population.
  • The rate of mortality fluctuated in different epidemic wave ,but one in four is probably average.
  • The first recorded Ebola virus outbreak in humans occurred in 1976. The mortality rate for the virus is between 50 and 90 percent. The speed with which victims succumb often means that small communities are virtually wiped out, preventing a more extensive spread of the disease.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • jolinabetts profile imageAUTHOR

    Sunshine Diaz 

    6 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

    hello Bob! Thank you for reading! looking forward in reading more on your hubs!

  • Civil War Bob profile image

    Civil War Bob 

    6 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

    Interesting hub, Jolina...voted up and interesting. Enjoy your day.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)