Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Black Death, Part 1 (of 4)

A timeline for the Bubonic Plague

(An incomplete list of) Breakouts of the Bubonic Plague:

540 C.E. -- Breaks out in Egypt and reaches Constantinople in 542.
1334 -- Constantinople
1345 -- Volga River Basin
1347-1351 -- Constantinople again, then Alexandria, Cyprus, Sicily; Italy; France and Germany, London; Norway, Scotland, Wales and Ireland; then Eastern Europe; then Russia

Then approximately once each decade for the next century, it appears again. Having taken the weakest among the population in the first go-round, smaller percentages of the population die each time.

1679 -- One last small outbreak in England, but the Plague strikes central Europe hard.
1711 -- Austria
1770 -- Balkans for two years
1855 -- "The Third Pandemic" begins in China and spreads throughout the world, but with greatest losses in China and India; 12,000,000 dead
1877 -- Third Pandemic hits Russia, China, India again
1889 -- Third Pandemic finally peters out
1894 -- Alexandre Yersin isolates the bacterium that causes the Bubonic Plague (called Yersinia pestis after him); Yersin realizes rats are the mode of transport. The pandemic is ended in China in 1896.

2005 -- In September, three mice infected with Bubonic Plague go missing from laboratory in New Jersey.

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