Three World Plague Pandemics in Human History

Speaking of plagues, many people think of various infectious diseases in history, such as smallpox.

It is understood that about 60% of the world’s population has suffered from the threat of smallpox, and a quarter of the infected people lost their lives, and the survivors will inevitably leave various “sequelae”.

Even the ancient emperors were not immune to the infection of smallpox, such as Emperor Kangxi, Emperor Shunzhi, and Emperor Tongzhi we mentioned earlier. Mazi, who died directly from smallpox. The catastrophic history that smallpox brought to human beings may be much longer than the plague. It is said that the scars left by smallpox were found on the mummies of ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

Back in ancient times, smallpox was even used as a secret weapon, and the Aztec empire was wiped out by infection and epidemics.

In addition to smallpox, the plague is also one of the most serious plagues in human history.

01 History of the Black Death
In 1947, the French writer Albert Camus wrote a novel about the plague disaster. Today, this novel is often mentioned by everyone for the same reason, that is, the novel depicts the plague under the plague. All kinds of life are too similar to the society we are facing today under the epidemic.

writer albert camus

About the plague, everyone is well-known, it should be another name, the Black Death. Back in the Middle Ages, the epidemic killed more than 25 million people across Europe. From 1348 to the third year, this serious epidemic centered on Europe gradually spread to many parts of the world, and caused the death of nearly half of the people in Europe. After that, this infectious disease was prevalent in Europe for nearly two hundred years.

This is enough to see how much harm the plague caused to humans.

Of course, not only in Europe, but also in my country, the plague has caused heavy damage to the people. There is a poem written by Shi Daonan, a poet in Zhaozhou: “The rat died in the east, and the rat died in the west. When people see dead rats, they are like tigers. When the rats die within a few days, people die like tearing down a block.

People die during the day, don’t ask the number, the sun is bleak and cloudy, three people walk, before ten steps, two people die suddenly and cross the road… “Dead Rat Walk”. “

This summary is also enough to see how scared people at that time were when they saw mice, especially dead mice.

Because of the death caused by the plague, it is enough to make people panic and retreat.

In 2011, a group of scientists came to London and openly dug up a cemetery where the dead were buried between 1348 and 1351, took away the unrotting teeth of the deceased buried in the ground, and used modern technology in the laboratory. DNA sequence comparisons of the strains were performed.

And the deceased whose cemetery was opened is the patient who died during the Black Death pandemic. The results of the study, however, found that the DNA of the 600-year-old strain obtained from the dead in the cemetery was different from the DNA of all known strains.

For this reason, experts believe that the plague bacillus that year died out at a certain historical stage in history. It is not difficult to understand why after the Black Death swept across Europe and caused heavy damage to human beings, there has never been such a strong and severe plague disease.

However, how did the plague spread and how did it have such a huge impact on humans?

Regarding this issue, many people’s understanding is that it was passed from mice to humans. However, it is said that the plague is not directly transmitted to humans by rats, and the rats are not the source of the plague, but the marmot is the real source of the plague.

Marmots, also called marmots, are rodents that live mostly in burrows. The human plague in the foci of marmots is usually infected by direct contact with infected animals, especially when hunting, stripping and eating marmots.


02 Epidemic history of plague
Plague is an ancient infectious disease. There have been three world plague pandemics in human history, and these three pandemics have had a very serious impact on the development of human civilization and society.

The first pandemic occurred in the 6th century AD, about 527 to 565. This time, the plague pandemic spread to almost all the famous countries in the world, and the death toll was about (up to) 100 million people. The plague pandemic this time directly led to the decline of the Eastern Roman Empire.

The second pandemic occurred in the 14th century AD, probably between 1347 and 1350. Its scope is also very wide, covering Europe and Asia and the north coast of Africa, and Europe is the most extensive. This epidemic is known as the Black Death in Europe.

The third pandemic occurred at the end of the 19th century and until the middle of the 20th century, it affected more than 60 countries and regions, including Asia, Europe, America, Africa and other places.

As a deadly infectious disease, plague has also been used as a “biological weapon”. Back then, when one after another corpses fell from the sky, the residents of the port city of Kaffa on the Black Sea never imagined that the disaster for them and the whole of Europe would begin.

In 1347, the city of Kafa (now the Ukrainian city of Feodosia) could not be conquered for a long time. The Mongols, who were used to using biological warfare as a weapon, decided to throw the corpses infected with the plague (Black Death) into the city as a way to use them as a weapon. plague to overwhelm the enemy. As a result, just as the Mongols wished, the plague quickly spread in the city of Kafa, causing a large number of deaths.

After that, the escaped people brought the virus to Italy, and finally to Spain, France, the United Kingdom and other places. Eventually, the plague swept across Europe, killing more than 20 million people and reducing the European population by more than one-third.

Plague, war and famine are known as the “three major killers” of tragedies in human history. They not only brought panic and chaos to society and the country, but also brought catastrophic blows to human beings, causing death or even extinction. .

03 The disaster brought to mankind by the plague
Generally speaking, the epidemic of infectious diseases is generally “beginning and ending”. It will be affected by factors such as population in different regions, population density, environmental climate, etc. In a long or short period of time, it will disappear after a period of epidemic. . However, the damage caused by the plague to human beings cannot be cured by time.

As early as in ancient times, plagues caused far more harm to people than in modern times. In that era when the medical level was still relatively backward, once infected with the plague, the possibility of its survival was very small. Because there is no cure, the sick person is almost equivalent to being sentenced to death, waiting for death to come.

“Records of the Three Kingdoms Wu Shu – Master Wu Biography” records: “The public (Cao Cao) burned the rest of the ships to retire. The soldiers were famined and most of the dead were killed.” It can be seen that the harm caused by the plague to people at that time was how much. In 209 AD, “The Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms Wei Shu Wu Di Ji” also recorded: “Since it has been a while, the army has been marching, or encountering epidemics. The officials and officials died and did not return, the family was grieving, and the people were displaced.”

Here, it directly highlights the great harm caused by the plague to human beings.

The plague brought not only immediate death to human beings, but also endless pain and chaos.

Back then, Europeans were devastated by the Black Death, suffering unbearably. Because the death toll was too fast and too many, many could not be accurately counted. After the outbreak of the Black Death in Europe, many people went to the church to pray, but people found that even praying to God was of no avail.

For this reason, people have turned their attention to cats and dogs. The traditional idea in Europe is that once bad things happen, the pets in the home are very likely to become the spokespersons of the devil, and for this reason, people will attack these cats and dogs and kill them. However, when the cats and dogs were almost killed, the Black Death still did not disappear.

Later, people quickly found another “disease” reason, that is, it was believed that a Jewish woman brought the Black Death from other places, so for a long time at that time, people carried out a A large-scale persecution led to the killing of countless Jews.

In China, the deaths caused by the plague are also numerous. In 1353, a great plague occurred in Huangzhou and Raozhou. At the end of the year, there was a big epidemic on Datong Road, and “most of the dead”. In the spring of 1356, a great epidemic spread in Henan. In 1357, the Great Epidemic of Changzhou.

In June 1358, Fenzhou suffered a great epidemic. “The people of the two rivers were brought into the capital by soldiers, young and old, and the dead were bedridden due to famine.” By April 1360, more than 200,000 people had been buried in the capital. Such fearful and devastating infectious diseases are not common in the world.

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