The Effects of the Black Death (1347-1667) on European Society

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The Effects of the Black Death (1347-1667) on European Society

Because of the shock to available labour caused by the Black Death the Feudal system that had previously dominated Europe begins to collapse.


The economic impact of the plague was significant. Agricultural prices dropped precipitously, endangering the fortunes and power of the aristocracy, whose wealth and dominance were based on land. At the same time , because of the deaths of so many people , wages rose dramatically , giving labours some chance of improving there own condition of employment. Increasing Numbers of people


Population impact. The virus and the plague have caused a decline in society in terms of the number of deaths and the economic loss in this world. For example, the Black Plague destroyed one quarter of the European population and is called one of the most significant diseases in history. Between 1348 and 1351, more than one million men, women, and children died in England. This was over one third of England's population dead due to this deadly virus

Working conditions. As large numbers of peasants die from the Black Death rents are no longer paid, there is a shortage of labour and serfs are no longer readily available to be called up into regional military forces in times of need.

As a result of the labour shortages caused by the Black Death the landed aristocracy begin to lose much of their power and status.  

Health and MedicineThe Black Death also had the effect of modernizing medicine.  Previously practitioners of medicine relied upon biblical cures,
Towns and villages slowly began to implement local health boards to develop and enforce sanitation procedures.



The Black Death had the effect of radically altering all aspects of European Society.  However, as local populations finally began to develop immunity to the plague and procedures for limiting the spread of disease the survivors developed a new economy to replace the feudal system.  Europe became poised to enter the renaissance.

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