The Black Death 1347-1353 The Spread of Bubonic Plague in Europe



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The Black Death 1347-1353 – The Spread of Bubonic Plague in Europe
Facts about the disease:

  • Most likely came from Asia via Mongolian armies.

  • In Asia, killed many people in various places.

  • We know today it is a form of Bubonic Plague caused by a particular viral bacteria.

The disease reaches Europe first via Italy

  • The disease flourished in warmer climates (ie, Mediterranean areas) and didn’t have much impact in colder, more northern areas.

  • 1/3 of Europe was killed by the disease – worse than any war in history.

  • 25 million die in Europe.

  • Europe’s unsanitary conditions help to ensure the plague remained.

The reaction against the Church

  • At this time period, the Church offered no strong leadership.

  • The Pope moved his court to France and lived a lavish lifestyle.

  • There were often two or even three rival popes during this period.

  • With no answers to the plague and itself full of corrupt popes and officials, the Church loses a great deal of power in Europe.

The Hundred Years’ War 1337- 1453



  • Not a single war, but a series of conflicts between England and France.

  • The development of the longbow helped the English win major battles all the way up until 1415.

  • In 1429, a 17 year old peasant woman named Joan of Arc begins to rise to national importance in France.

  • She convinced the French King that she was chosen by God to defeat the English.

  • She led the French to several important victories but was captured by the English and burned at the stake for witchcraft. She was declared a saint by the Church many years later.

  • Eventually, the French used a new technology brought from China, cannons, to defeat the English in France.

  • The introduction of the longbow and cannon made knights and castles obsolete in warfare. The traditions of medieval Europe were being pulled down by the growing importance of large, peasant armies.


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