The Black Death: When Tens of Millions of Europe’s Population Was Killed by the Bubonic Plague

A cruel fact about life is that diseases exist. Especially infectious, life-threatening variants that once spread can kill millions of people in a short space of time, in very painful circumstances. An example is smallpox which is estimated to have killed between 300-500 million people in the last 12,000 years. Still, no cure exists, but vaccinations are very effective at stemming the development of the disease. Another is bubonic plague, a bacterium-based disease which wreaked havoc in Europe and Asia, most infamously in the year 1346. The devastation was so serious that it became known as the Black Death, with the Latin word for terrible, mistranslated to black. Although for many, both terrible and black perfectly explains the dark situation throughout the Old World at this time.

Artwork of black death. (Kupferstichkabinett / Wikimedia Commons)

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