The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Although there were several competing theories as to the etiology of the Black Death, recent analysis of DNA from victims in northern and southern Europe indicates that the pathogen responsible was the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which causes the Bubonic plague, although these were different, previously unknown ancestral variants of those identified in the 20th century.
The Black Death is thought to have started in China or central Asia, before spreading west. The plague then travelled along the Silk Road and reached the Crimea by 1346. From there, it was probably carried by Oriental rat fleas living on the black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships. Spreading throughout the Mediterranean and Europe, the Black Death is estimated to have killed 30–60 percent of Europe's population. All in all, the plague reduced the world population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in the 14th century.
The aftermath of the plague created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The plague reoccurred occasionally in Europe until the 19th century.
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... Historians who believe that the Black Death was indeed caused by bubonic plague have put forth several counterarguments ... offering the idea that bubonic plague was indeed the source of the Black Death, explains how archaeological research has confirmed that the black or "ship" rat was indeed present in Roman and ... The Black Death tapered off in the eighteenth century, and according to McCormick, a rat-based theory of transmission could explain why this occurred ...
... In addition to these personal accounts, many presentations of the Black Death have entered the general consciousness as great literature ... Tales), and William Langland (Piers Plowman), which all discuss the Black Death, are generally recognized as some of the best works of their era ... La Danse Macabre, or the Dance of death, was a contemporary allegory, expressed as art, drama, and printed work ...
... The Black Death, a bubonic plague pandemic which reached Europe in 1347 spread to England in 1348, and killed between a third and more than half of the nation's inhabitants ... The Black Death was the first and most severe manifestation of the Second Pandemic, caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria ... It is generally believed that The Black Plague was brought to England by people who had been infected on the European mainland who sailed into English ...
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