chapter  4
37 Pages

The medieval Black Death arrives in Europe

WithWelford Mark

The timing of the primary wave of the medieval Black Death (mBD) was impeccable; it hit Europe between 1347–1353 at a time shortly after the end of the medieval warm period and the Great Famine of 1315–1318. The mBD was also one of the first truly global pandemics, uniting east and west, a harbinger of things to come, such as the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918–1919 and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The strain of plague that is responsible for the third plague pandemic appears to be quite distinct from the second pandemic plague, suggesting it survived and radiated in East Asia as a bubonic plague. The beginning of the decline of the Mediterranean as a political, social and economic power, to be replaced by England and the Netherlands, has been dated to the primary wave of the mBD. The political and social decline of Mediterranean Europe coincides with the growth in the wage gap between north-west Europe and the Mediterranean.