The Black Death (1347-1351)
The Black Death, also known as bubonic plague, is a bacterial disease spread by rodents that wiped out around one-third of Europe's population in the mid-14th century.
The Black Death, or the Black Plague, was a devastating pandemic that first hit Europe in the mid-14th Century and killed nearly 25 million people, around one third of the population. After arriving from China on Italian merchant ships, the Black Death spread with amazing speed, often killing people in a matter of hours. The disease spread from rats to fleas and eventually to humans and caused a high fever, painful swelling of lymph glands (called buboes), and spots. The plague was not confined to Europe. Eruptions occurred throughout Asia and the Middle East as well. Numerous preexisting social conditions may have exacerbated the plague's devastation. The world had just entered the "Little Ice Age," and resulting famine had weakened immune systems severely.