Impact of the Black Death - Term Paper Example

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Plague is referred to as the Black Death as it was held responsible for causing numerous deaths in the early 14th century. It spread such chaos and terror among people that they abandoned their kith and kin, for the fear of catching it and dying ultimately. …
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Impact of the Black Death
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Download file to see previous pages Fathers left diseased children and wives left husbands, such was the situation back then. Between 1347 and 1351, it killed nearly 30% of the European population and a phenomenon known as depopulation occurred. Not only that but also economic, political and cultural changes were brought about by plague. Victims of plague died every day and there was no one to claim their bodies or no one to bury them (Gottfried, 1983). The Black Death was also there in Asia and the Middle East during 1347-51, simultaneously with Western Europe (Peschke, 2008). The economic impact of the Black Death was that it favored the peasants more than the landowners or the elites. Impact Before the Black Death period, Europe was reaping the fruit of its growth. There was an agricultural revolution at the start of the 14th century in Europe and food production increased and the area under cultivation increased. However there was a famine for two years in Europe (1315 to 1317) but the growth far surpassed it. But the growth period came to an end in1347 when Europe was struck by the Black Death, which left the entire Europe in pessimism and melancholy (Peschke, 2008). Investigating the effects of plague was important in knowing the economic and demographic trends as a lot of controversies were involved. One of the controversies was that deaths were not caused by plague but because the Jews had poisoned the water wells. Innocent Jews were killed, not by plague but by the people who held them guilty for the chronic depopulation (Peschke, 2008). One of the most affected European countries was Italy, so in-depth studies to find out the causes and remedies for plague were very necessary. The Black Death was an outcome of bubonic, pneumonic and septicaemic symptoms of plague. The Black Death was a part of the second plague pandemic, as it was its first epidemic and it recurred in the eighteenth century. Before Europe was hit by plague, it was dominated by aristocrats and religious leaders as they owned property and ruled over peasants and the working class in general. Labor was underpaid and abundant in supply but after plague, when chronic depopulation occurred, technological methods were introduced to meet the shortage of workers and overtime, it became good substitutes for human labor (Bowsky, 1964). There are various viewpoints for the Black Death as some historians believe that the impact of the Black Death was transient while others believe that it was the main driving force which revolutionized medieval Europe into modern Europe. Some religious leaders like Cardinal F. A. Gasquet associate the Black Death with the downfall of the Christian church. Monasticism was particularly more adversely affected by the Black Death. Whereas there were also some optimists like G. G. Coulton, who viewed the effects of depopulation as beneficial for the ones who survived, as they had more wealth per head and as a result the advent of the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation was made possible. Besides that, the Black Death also had a psychological impact as the survivors were disturbed by the massive wave of plague and the way it killed so many of the people they knew or were related to. Some people are of the opinion that the Black Death was too massive a blow to Europe and hence they categorize it under the three worst catastrophes that ever took place on the face of this earth. With time, people forget how huge the impact of a particular catastrophe was. For instance some Marxists and non-Marxist both sideline the Black Death as a part of a crisis, rather than being the main crisis itself (Gottfried, 1983). Europe was dominated by feudalism before the end of the 13th century and peasants were paid less, even though they worked a lot. But after the end of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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