Explained: What was the Black Death, where did it originate?

What is the News?

In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers have claimed that Black Death originated in modern-day northern Kyrgyzstan around 1338-1339 – nearly 7-8 years before it ravaged large parts of the world.

If this study is correct, it would mean that the Black Death spread through trading routes and not, as some historians have argued, through warfare a century prior.

What is Black Death?

The term Black Death refers to the bubonic plague that spread across Western Asia, Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe in 1346-53.

Caused by: Black Death was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and was spread by fleas that were carried by rodent hosts.

Deaths due to Black Death disease: Norwegian historian Ole J Benedictow, who wrote extensively on the disease, estimated that around 60-65% of Europe’s population or 52 million people died due to the plague.

Why was this plague called the Black Death?

It is commonly believed that the term Black Death gets its name from the black marks that appeared on some of the plague victims’ bodies.

In the 14th century, the epidemic was referred to as the ‘great pestilence’ or ‘great death’, due to the demographic havoc that it caused.

The world black also carried a dark, gloomy emotional tone, due to the sheer amount of deaths generated by the plague.

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained: What was the Black Death, where did it originate?published in Indian Express on 16th June 2022.

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