Historical Events  Science
Plague Pandemic

The Black Death in the 1300's

China 1855

The last Plague Pandemic?

Many people are familiar with the "Black Death".

This is the term for the plague outbreak in the 1300's which hit Europe and Asia, and is said to have killed around a third of the population.

However, many people are also surprised to hear this was the second of three major world plague outbreaks and it is being pointed to as one of those Mandela Effects where something expected to be much wider known "suddenly" appears in history.

The first was the Byzantine Empire in 541. The second was the worst by far, but the third was deadly too since it killed 12 million people in India and China.

The other shock is that the third outbreak was only considered contained in 1960.


The reason the second was the worst is because it was pneumonic, and could be passed from person to person, whereas the other two were bubonic, meaning it was carried by rats and fleas. Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacterium, and it is the fleas which have been on infected rats which are largely responsible, since the fleas can pass to other animals such as cats and dogs without killing their host. It actually still exists today - there are an average of 7 cases per year reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It actually poses little danger to those excavating old sites, for example foundations in a city. It's true there were so many funerals at their peaks that the bodies were buried en masse, but the plague bacteria can't survive the hundreds of years they will have been there. Fresh corpses which are infected, on the other hand, are dangerous and were actually used as a weapon in the middle ages when gruesomely flung at an enemy encampment using a trebuchet.

There's even a rumour that the London Underground weaves about so much because of the plague pits, but it now seems unlikely.

The plague is associated firmly in the minds of people today with the middle ages, along such things as the fire of London and the Gunpowder plot. To hear a large outbreak happened so recently is such a surprise that some say it must be down to the Mandela Effect.