Skip to comments.Lost documents shed light on Black Death
Posted on 06/01/2007 6:38:06 AM PDT by Daffynition
For centuries, rats and fleas have been fingered as the culprits responsible for the Black Death, the medieval plague that killed as many as two thirds of Europes population.
But historians studying 14th-century court records from Dorset believe they may have uncovered evidence that exonerates them. The parchment records, contained in a recently-discovered archive, reveal that an estimated 50 per cent of the 2,000 people living in Gillingham died within four months of the Black Death reaching the town in October 1348.
The deaths are recorded in land transfers lodged with the manorial court which unusually for the period sat every three weeks, giving a clear picture of who had died and when. The records show that 190 of the 300 tenants holding land in the town died during the winter of 1348-49, at a time when a form of bubonic plague spread by rat fleas would have been dormant.
Experts now believe that the Black Death is more likely to have been a viral infection, similar to haemorrhagic fever or ebola, that spread from person to person.
The records came to light after they were donated to the Dorset History Centre by a firm of solicitors in whose office attic they had been stored.
The historian Dr Susan Scott, of the University of Liverpool, said the documents backed up her theory that the outbreak was not caused by bubonic plague.
She said: Bubonic plague relies on fleas breeding and it is too cold during winter in Britain for this to happen.
Well, maybe. I’d want to see a lot more evidence than this.
Some historians or epidemiologists have suggested that the people were so dirty they were supporting fleas that usually lived on rodents, or that the exterior temperature was irrelevant, since the people and rodents lived indoors.
Others have suggested a strain of disease that could be carried by human-hosted fleas.
Others say the evidence indicates an air- or droplet-transmitted strain in conjunction with the flea-carried strain.
Was it so back then or might that have been during a warming period? And while it may have been too cold even in the house for fleas to breed on pets and vermin, hygiene was not high on the list of traits of those ancestors. I'm sure humans carried enough fleas and kept themselves warm enough for them to breed. I suspect that once the disease had a foothold, humans were fully capable of doing the rats' work to spread it. Heck, if the court met on an extraoridnarily frequent basis, there's your vector!!! The unusually chummy folk ensured the spread!
But in fact the notion that a pneumonic form of plague -- spread by sneezing and coughing, and not dependent on fleas, has been around for a long time. I guess one of the questions is: Did the Bubonic Plague take two forms, or were there two different diseases?
Bubonic Plague is native to America, which is where it came from during pre-Columbian trade.
I had heard that it originated in Kazakhstan, and moved Westward.
It was spread by one infected traveler who was warned by his doctor not to travel, and wasn’t quarantined.
blam, you might be interested.
Sorry, I thought this thread was about the Rose Law Firm records.
It came in on the fur trade from Central America. Hit Iceland first, a year before it reached the continent of Europe.
The version I heard (believe it was on History Channel), was that it came from Central Kazakhstan, moved Westward through Russia (no record of the deaths in this part of the World), and moved onward to Turkey.
During a battle between the Turks and Venetians, the Turks began flinging the bodies of dead Turks over the walls of the Venetian fort.
Venetians returning to Italy brought the Plague back with them.
That's the story I heard. I'll have to "Google" the subject...
Yup, thanks. I read a pretty good article some time back that made a pretty good case that at least two (maybe three) infectious agents was involved during the Black Death.
That is the story. Of course, Columbus discovered America and there was nothing before, as taught (by whom?). Neither Greenland nor Vinland existed, nor the Grand Bank fishing waters. There were neither Turkeys nor turkey corn in England. Ignore the Vikings, the English, the Portugese, the Chinese, the Turks, and the Irish. Ignore the tobacco leaves used to line the insides of Egyptian mummies 2000 BC and the cocaine in their hair. Google away, don’t forget Wikipedia.
Considering the states of personal hygiene, potable water, and waste disposal at the time that wouldn't suprise me in the least.
LOL ...nice one!!!!
Domesticated South American turkeys were brought to Europe by the early Spanish explorers. The original Pilgrims brought some of those turkeys back to North American when they came to settle. Some got into the wild and now all wild US turkeys have some of the DNA from those ‘European’ turkeys. The Indians didn’t introduce the Pilgrims to turkeys...the Pilgrims already had them.
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That was after 1620, but there were turkeys in England before 1492, and turkey corn as well. They were called turkeys because it was thought they came from Turkey. Too simple, probably.
Experts now believe that the Black Death is more likely to have been a viral infection, similar to haemorrhagic fever or ebola, that spread from person to person.Thanks Lurker.
Pneumonic plague occurs when Y. pestis infects the lungs. This type of plague can spread from person to person through the air. Transmission can take place if someone breathes in aerosolized bacteria, which could happen in a bioterrorist attack. Pneumonic plague is also spread by breathing in Y. pestis suspended in respiratory droplets from a person (or animal) with pneumonic plague. Becoming infected in this way usually requires direct and close contact with the ill person or animal. Pneumonic plague may also occur if a person with bubonic or septicemic plague is untreated and the bacteria spread to the lungs. -- CDC: Facts about Pneumonic Plague
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Furs from Central America? Really? How ratty.
Yeah. Black Plague is native to Central America and is in Denver right now. They find sick rats all the time. The furs would have been moved overland to Rhode Island and sold at the trading post to traders going back to Europe.
No doubt, this reflects something from our past and may explain why mtDNA haplogroup 'H' is the most wide spread in Europe today...they're the survivors, huh?
I recently learned this reading a book recommended here on FR and immediately wondered if 'buboe' was the source for 'boo-boo'. Wouldn't surprise me since 'Ring around the Rosy' morphed from a song about death by the same means.
Good for him that there were still seats on the Moscow to Montreal mail boat.
All right, maybe it was the Moscow to London stage.
No, the Moscow to London stage and mail boat package tour.
Yeah, that's it.
That’s true. I have no idea what furs they produced. They must have been amazingly valuable to be wanted across the Atlantic. Not cheap.
the documents were LOST!
FOUND documents might tell us something, but LOST documents can tell us nothing!
Jaguar? Farther south you’d have alpacas & llamas, but I think they would have been more like wool shipments than pelts.
I think of Central & South America, sure they weren’t shipping feathers more than fur? They had a habit of shipping exotic animals willy nilly.
I haven’t had my DNA checked yet, I keep forgetting.
The epidemic of cocoliztli from 1545 to 1548 killed an estimated 5 million to 15 million people, or up to 80% of the native population of Mexico (Figure 1). In absolute and relative terms the 1545 epidemic was one of the worst demographic catastrophes in human history, approaching even the Black Death of bubonic plague, which killed approximately 25 million in western Europe from 1347 to 1351 or about 50% of the regional population.
The cocoliztli epidemic from 1576 to 1578 cocoliztli epidemic killed an additional 2 to 2.5 million people, or about 50% of the remaining native population.
(Don't bother telling him there was no U.S. Army in the 16th Century - you'd expect a fake Indian to produce fake scholarship.)
Fascinating idea, I bet you're onto something there!
Sorry I wandered on to this thread so late in the discourse, but there was a warm period in Europe from about (if memory serves me) 1100 to 1300. We’re talking major warm winters and stifling summers. You could even call it G——l W-——g. No, seriously, fleas could have survived those winters.
You’ve probably seen this map before....
No? It's a common take on the song & I didn't know there was any other. Do tell.
Is this another case of junk science?
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