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The Black Death, Analysis

1485 words - 6 pages

Since the reign of Emperor Justinian in 542 A.D., man has one unwelcome organism along for the ride, Yersinia pestis. This is the bacterium more commonly know as the Black Death, the plague. Plague is divided into three biotypes, each associated with one of three major pandemics occurring in history. Each of these biotypes are then divided into three distinct types, classified by method of infection.The most widely know is bubonic, an infection of plague that resides in the lymph nodes, causing them to swell. The Black Death of the 14th century was mainly of this type. Bubonic plague is commonly spread through fleas that have made a meal from an infected Rattus rattus.The most dangerous type ...view middle of the document...

Though the plague had, for the most part, ceased less than ten years after it started, it killed nearly one third of the European population. In many towns the dead outnumbered the living. Bodies piled in the streets faster than nuns, monks, and relatives could bury them. Many bodies were interred in mass graves, overflowing with dead, or dumped into nearby rivers. Domesticated cats and dogs, along with wolves, dug dead out of shallow graves, and sometimes attacked those still living. Many animals did either from plague or lack of care. Henry Knighton noted more than 5,000 dead sheep in one field alone.The death of a very large portion of the work force aided those that were still living. The sheer scarcity of workers enabled the remainder to make demands of higher wages and better conditions. Farms located on poor soil were abandoned because the demand for grain had decreased, enabling fewer farms, located on the better tracts of land to feed the population.For a more in-depth look at the effect that plague had on the literature of the time please visit my other page on the bubonic plague. It is a copy of my research paper that I did as a high school senior. I know people will plagarize it, and I really can't stop you. But I do have two requests. First- don't plagarize it and repost it on the internet. Its one thing if you lie to a teacher and say something is yours, its another thing to lie to the whole world about it. Secondly- tell me what grade you got on it... You can find it here.There have been a few encounters with bubonic plague in modern times. In the American and Canadian west, from Texas and Oklahoma in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, it is most often transmitted from species of squirrels. The last occurrence of transmissions from rats to people, or people to people in the United States occurred in 1924 in Los Angeles. In that epidemic there were 32 cases of pneumonic plague with 31 fatalities. Since then there have been around 16 cases a year in the United States, most connected with rock squirrels and its common flea Oropsylla montana.In the years of World War II the Japaneese army formed a special biological warfare division. This unit worked on developing a method to deliver the plague bacteria to the civilian population of China. They tested the effectiveness of the plague as a weapon of war first on prisoners of war, then on unsuspecting civilians. In their first tests they confined a small group of prisioners in a room with thousands of plague infested fleas. The moratlity rate in these experiments were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 percent.The next step was to release the plague on the general population of Manchuria. This was accomplished by planes flying over cities and villages and releasing huge amounts of plague infested fleas over the town. When this proved to be an inaccurate way of spreading the disease, and would periodiocally result in the infection of the air crew, another method was devised....

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