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The years 1346–53 saw one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people, and 30–60% of Europe's total population. Named historically as the Black Death, the aftermath of the plague created a series of religious, social, and economic upheavals, which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The Black Death is thought to have originated in the arid plains of Central Asia, the Yersinia pestis bacterium then travelled along the Silk Road, reaching the Crimea by 1343. From there, it was most likely carried by Oriental rat fleas living on the black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships, spreading throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. By June 1348 it had reached England where ‘scarce the tenth person of any sort was left alive’.

Plague Doctor

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