Investigating the Black Death Contents

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Big Idea Three

How did the immediate and long-term effects of the Black Death change medieval society in Europe?

Short-term impacts of the Black Death

  1. Depopulation

It is difficult to give an exact figure for the number of people who died from the Black Death because the event occurred a long time ago and not many records were made.

The most recent estimates suggest the following approximate number of deaths:

  • 30 – 50% of the population of Europe (approx.. 25-30 million people)

  • 40% of the population in China (approx.. 35 million people)

  • 40% of Egypt’s population.

Not all areas lost people at the same rate. In southern Europe, the death toll was as high as 75% of the population, whereas in Germany and England it was around 20%.

  1. Effect on towns

Rubbish and raw sewage in the streets of medieval towns was a common sight, even before the plague, but once the plague struck this filthy situation became even worse. There were few people to tend to the disrepair, even if they had wanted to.

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