What are the Similarities Between the Black Death and the Great Plague?

Plague is a disease caused by a strain of bacteria called Yersinia pestis . In the Middle Ages, the plague claimed the deaths of millions of people in Europe. Black Death and Great Plague are two names of pandemics that have hit Europe. The Black Death is a devastating global pandemic that affected Eurasia and North Africa in the mid-13th century. The Great Plague (1665 to 1666) was the last major bubonic plague outbreak in England. There are many similarities between the Black Death and the Great Plague, as both are bubonic plague outbreaks.

In the Middle Ages, no one knew how this disease was caused, transmitted, prevented, or cured. Both the Black Death and the Great Plague led to a drastic population decline in Europe.

Key areas covered

1. What is the Black Death - cause, spread, characteristics 2. What is the Great Plague - facts, spread 3. What are the similarities between the Black Death and the Great Plague - overview of common characteristics

key terms

Black Death, Bubonic Plague, Great Plague

What is black death?

The Black Death is a devastating global pandemic that affected Eurasia and North Africa in the mid-13th century. It is the deadliest pandemic in history, with up to 75 to 200 million deaths. The peak of this pandemic was in Europe from 1347 to 1351. In addition, the Black Death is believed to have originated in Asia and was spread by merchant ships.

Similarities Between the Black Death and the Great Plague

Figure 1: Spread of the Black Death

In the Middle Ages, nobody knew what the Black Death was or how it spread from one patient to another. Medieval doctors did not know how to prevent or treat the disease. At the end of the 19th century, the French biologist Alexandre Yersin discovered that this pandemic was spread by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This bacterial infection often leads to bubonic plague. It can also lead to septicemic or pneumonic plagues. The main signs and symptoms of bubonic plague are swollen lymph glands called bumps, fever and chills, headache, seizures, muscle pain, and general weakness. The bacillus can get from person to person through the air and through the bite of infected fleas and rats.

Since there was no cure for the plague, those infected with it died after three days. In addition, the plague never really ended and has returned several times over the centuries.

What is the Great Plague?

The Great Plague, which lasted from 1665 to 1666, was the last major bubonic plague outbreak in England. In 18 months it killed around 100,000 people, nearly a quarter of London's population. Compared to the Black Death, this epidemic was much smaller. It is called the "Great Plague" because it was the last widespread bubonic plague epidemic.

Main Similarities Between the Black Death and the Great Plague

Figure 2: Collecting dead bodies

Even during this time there was no cure for the bubonic plague. However, authorities have taken steps to prevent the disease from spreading. Houses with plague victims were marked with a red cross and residents were asked to adhere to a 40-day quarantine. However, the doctors had no real clue as to the cause of the disease. It was the beginning of the winter season that actually brought the plague to an end.

Similarities Between the Black Death and the Great Plague

  • Both the Black Death and the Great Plague are bubonic plague outbreaks caused by a strain of bacteria called Yersinia pestis.
  • The main signs and symptoms of bubonic plague are swollen lymph glands called bumps, fever and chills, headache, seizures, muscle pain, and general weakness.
  • The disease was highly contagious and can be transmitted from person to person through the air and by bites from infected rats and fleas.
  • It frightened and killed many people.
  • Doctors at the time had no idea about the cause of this disease, how it could be transmitted, prevented, or cured.
  • In both the Black Death and the Great Plague, the plague mainly affected the population of Europe.

diploma

The Black Death is a devastating global pandemic that affected Eurasia and North Africa in the mid-13th century. The Great Plague (1665 to 1666) was the last major bubonic plague outbreak in England. There are many similarities between the Black Death and the Great Plague, as both are bubonic plague outbreaks. Nobody knew how this disease was caused, transmitted, prevented, or cured. Hence, it has caused millions of deaths.

Reference:

1. "The Black Death and the Great Plague - Causes of Diseases and Diseases - WJEC - GCSE History Revision - WJEC - BBC Bitesize." BBC News, BBC, Available here .2. "Black Death." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, May 21, 2020, available here. 3. "Great plague of London." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, May 12, 2020, available here .

Image courtesy:

1. "1346-1353 Spread of the Black Death in Europe Map" By Flappiefh - Own work by: Natural Earth; The Origin and Early Spread of the Black Death in Italy: First Signs of Plague Sufferers from the 14th Century Liguria (Northern Italy) Maps by OJ Benedictow (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia 2. “ Great Plague of London-1665 ” By unknown - (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the author: Hasa

Hasa holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently reading for a Masters in English. Her areas of interest include literature, language, linguistics and also food.