The Black Death - Essay Example

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The author of this essay "The Black Death" comments on the historical phenomenon of the Black Death. Admittedly, the Black Death was most likely spread by Mongol rulers who had established stabilized caravan routes spanning from China to the Black Sea. …
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The Black Death
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The Black Death originated from Central Asia in the beginning of 1300s and was most likely spread by Mongol rulers who had established stabilized caravan routes spanning from China to Black Sea. In 1347, a Genoese ship docked at the Sicilian port (Messina) having half of its team dead or dying as a result of the plague. Officially, Black Death had finally arrived ,rapidly spreading terror and death across Europe and in 1347 swept via Italy,1348 in France as well as Low Countries, Scandinavia and Europe in 1349.By 1350,the plague had well passed on and left in its wake terrible effects such as decimated populations(Herlihy, 1997).
Black Death served as a major turning point in the history of European civilization in that there was a high standard of living for the survivors, several problems arose for the clergy and nobles who apparently, were land owners as well as revolts by urban workers and peasants. The resulting high standard of living led to more even distribution of wealth as well as the economic recovery after 1450.Popular uprisings were as a result of labor shortages due to death of the inhabitants, which made workers to demand high wages for their work, a thing that guild masters and nobles vehemently opposed. Secondly, Black Death severely exhausted medieval state’s tax base, causing kings to drastically raise taxes so as to meet chronic warfare expenses between England and France (Herlihy, 1997).
Finally the black death created problems for the clergy and nobles in 2 major ways; firstly the huge loss of population in the cities’ led to virtual collapsing of the grain markets, a key income source for church landlords and nobles having excess grain for selling. This particularly hurt the clergy and nobles who entirely depended on land for income and wholly relied on sale of excess grains in the urban centers for badly required cash. This led to emergence of 2 main strategies for taking care of this loss in income; clergies and nobles resulted to sale of liberty to their serfs, which raised quick cash, depriving them future incomes. This contributed to the decline of clergy and nobles, giving rise to nation states and kings. Similarly, the serfs were changed into a free peasantry motivated to work harder because they were working for themselves leading to even allocation of wealth, a factor that led to revival of towns, agriculture as well as trade (Herlihy, 1997).
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