chapter  4
9 Pages

Copenhagen 1711: Danish authorities facing the plague

ByPeter Christensen

The Danish authorities started all the routine measures and, as in the 1660s and 1680s, they were successful in preventing the infection from reaching Denmark. When plague was reported in Poland in 1708, the Danish government began applying the customary precautionary measures: health certificates were demanded of all ships returning from the Baltic, suspicious ships were to be quarantined for forty days and all letters from the area were to be thoroughly fumigated. In 1720, when the Great Northern War was over, plague again appeared in the ports of the Baltic. The epidemic of 1708—13 turned out to be the last in Western and Central Europe, but what actually made the plague disappear is often referred to as one of the great enigmas in history. The links the Copenhagen outbreak to the wider issue of what part human action played in the disappearance of the plague.