A History In Numbers
The Black Death remains the worst single epidemic in human history, killing millions, spreading fear and panic, and changing society for ever. Here we collate the key facts and figures from this dark and gruesome period.
No one was secure, whether rich or poor. Everyone, from day-to-day, waited on the will of the Lord.– Gilles Li Muisis
10 Facts About The Black Death
Black Death Casualties
40-50% – the percentage of the population of Europe who died from the plague, as many as one in every two people.
+ Read key facts about the Black Death
Black Death Symptoms
3 – the number of different forms of the plague – bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic.
+ Read more symptoms of the Black Death
Black Death Causes
109 – the number of skeletal remains excavated from a London plague burial site that, in 2011, tested positive for evidence of the plague bacteria Yersinia pestis, confirming this to be the cause of the plague.
+ Read more about the causes of the plague
Cures for the Black Death
‘Stinks’ – the name given to the dead animals which some people placed in their homes to counteract ‘poisonous air’, considered by some to be the way by which plague spread.
Consequences of the Black Death
400 years – the estimated time it for population numbers to recover following the Black Death, only reaching pre-plague figures around the mid– to late 19th century.
+ Read more about the consequences of the plague
Naming the Black Death
1555 – the year in which first known instance of the name Black Death is found. At the time of the epidemic it was known by other names.
+ Read more on why it was called ‘Black Death’
Blame for the Black Death
November 1348 – the month in which pogroms began in Germany, with Jews being killed or ejected from their homes in great numbers, having been wrongly blamed for the mysterious deaths brought on by plague.
+ Find out who was blamed for the plague
Black Death and the Flagellants
3 – the number of times each day that Flagellants would whip themselves until bloodied, in rituals intended to appease God and ward of the plague.
+ Read more about the Flagellant movement
The History of Plagues
AD 541 – the year in which the First Pandemic occurred (the Black Death being the Second Pandemic). Commonly referred to as the Plague of Justinian, it is estimated to have killed as many as 50,000,000 people worldwide.
The Third Pandemic
1894 – the year that the Third Pandemic emerged in China before spreading to the rest of the world, killing around 6,000,000.