The Black Death in 14th century Europe

The Black Death in 14th century Europe had an enormous impact on the society, economy, and politics for decades to come. What is another example of a pandemic that altered an entire culture, and in what ways did this pandemic affect the culture of the nation(s) it afflicted?

Across world there are diseases that are curable and uncurable, while trying to keep it in control many don’t know when there might be an inflicted spread of the disease just like those as the black death in the 14th century.

Diseases not only shape a country but it breaks the economic as people as resources can’t put a hand in to work or provide for their family. The epidemic marks kill two third of the population with no one knowing the insight of where it’s coming from. The pandemic of the 1918 influenza also known as the Spanish flu caught everyone by surprised, the flu had two waves that happened in Georgia, South Carolina and United States soldier accused of bringing it to Europe.

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Furthermore, the first was wave of the pandemic originated in Kansas sometime between January and February 1918. To this day it is unknown where the flu came from but only can be described from where it was first observed. Forty percent of the U.S navy was affected by the flu while thirty six percent of the army became ill. The characteristic was different from previous flu. Symptoms such as chills, fever and fatigue and death rate were low.

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Some of those characteristics include high attack rate, high morbidity rate and greater mortality than usual. The virus was caused by the H1N1 virus. American soldiers in camp Funston in Kansas first caught the disease before it moves to Georgia and South Carolina. Many said American’s brought the disease to Europe where it happened at the Brest and Bordeaux camp in April. This disease altered more than one nation. The Great War brought about army of men with the disease to different regions. President Woodrow Wilson suffered from the flu in early 1919 while having to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles to end the World War. The disease brought plenty of extremes were the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream could be reduced and the skin loses its color to black.

In addition, the second wave of the pandemic did not start in America this time, instead it was form among British and French troops in July 1918. The viruses second arrive in the U.S in 1918 in Boston. The soldiers were the main victim in the pandemic attack. The flu hits its worst as far as South Africa, Japan, China, Peru, Greece and Italy. The disease not only happen in these countries but in New Zealand this was something as the ship arrived with troops infected. The military camps were by far the most dangerous places to be during this time of crisis according to Geoffrey Rice. Physicians in Chicago often times reported 1200 cases per day. Victims didn’t survive more than a couple days after experiencing symptoms during the second wave of the flu. The second was the deadlier; it ended the lives of 18000 New Zealand soldiers over a four-year period of time, with 9000 dying within two months. One- third of the world population was infected which was approximately 500 million people. Worldwide the number of deaths were estimated to be 50 million with 675000 occurring in the United States. The disease affected kids younger than 5 years old, between ages 20-40 years old and 65 years and older. The rate of death for Europe was 5.8 per thousand people. At the camps of Featherston and Trentham camps the rates were 22.6 and 23.5 deaths per thousand people respectively. It killed more people than the Black Death in 1347. This disease killed more people than the great world also known as World War I.

Moreover, doctors, nurses, chemist and voluntary organizations such as Red Cross, St John Ambulance and district nursing associations all played crucial roles during the pandemic. The Red Cross created a national Committee for the influenza. With the combustion of people helping to aid the reported numbers could be lesser than the actual amount due to lack record keeping. Many teachers that were free of employment due to the closure of schools became nurses to increase staff and fight against the pandemic. Towns started accepting a signed certificate to enter and railroads don’t accept train with passengers. Funerals were limited to fifteen minutes. With the world, soldiers came back with wounds and had to be treated which cause a shortage in physicians. Mainly the medical students were accepting into intern positions as nurses. The healthy people of the population played an important role as they respond to phone calls from those who in need of emergency. People were mainly told to be in isolation and take good care of their hygiene. Citizens were ordered to wear mask, while school and businesses shut down until the run through of the virus ended. Private homes and other buildings converted to hospitals. The healthier people were those in the age range of 20-40 years old. There was no vaccine and antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections. Vaccines that could control and prevent future pandemics were produced by doctors. Families had to dig graves for their family members because parlors were over flooded with bodies.

All in all, the government took its hands to improve the health department. Many families had to adjust to the lost of members like parents, husbands, wives along with children. The flu came to an end in summer of 1919 where those that were infected died or became immune. Soldiers’ family had life the hardest as they were the first victim to be exposed to the flu. The camps were known as the infested zones as the disease made its way through the soldiers. With no vaccines for the virus left people hopeless and worried. Precaution was at minimal safety as there were not anyway for doctors to stop the disease from spreading. Being short on employees gave students the chance to intern in their field of study and locals to be active in the community. This allow for the community to come closer with each other. The flu symptoms was different which left doctors astonished and on their toes. The second wave brought through a more deadly attack than the first wave. The rates of deaths were enormous and leave doctors clueless along with the results the virus brought. The World War I played a huge role in the transition of the virus from the U.S to foreign countries. The virus was the deadliest compare to other viruses during it time. Younger of the generation came up on circumstances with the virus decreasing the population of early adults. Life in crisis seems impossible to maneuver because of the low literacy rate of the populations. School started to stern up tight around 1950 as people gain better technology.


“The 1918 Influenza Pandemic.” RSS,

“1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus) | Pandemic Influenza (Flu) | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic,

Updated: May 19, 2021
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The Black Death in 14th century Europe. (2020, Sep 10). Retrieved from

The Black Death in 14th century Europe essay
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