History of Black Death
The Black Death
The first cases of bubonic plague, or Black Death were discovered in the 14th century and it is the most devastating pandemic in the history of humanity, which affected the whole of Europe killing 60% of Europeans, died 50 million people of a total of 80 million inhabitants, according to data from researcher Diane Zahler. The plague also affected Eastern countries, but did not reach the American or African continents.
Bubonic plague was discovered in 1320 in the Gobi Desert. In 1331 the plague reached to China, in 1338 to Russia, in 1342 to India, and finally in 1346 reached to the European continent, no one could stop it.
The fourteenth century had devastating moments because of the plague. In sieges infected corpses were thrown into the city with catapults. Fishing and commercial boats remained directionless with all the dead crew. Entire villages were deserted when all its inhabitants died. The economy practically disappeared and social chaos was present. In the beginning it was thought that the Jewish community were the cause of this new disease, so many civilians began Jewish pogroms.
The Black Death was born from an evolution of the bacterium Yersinia Pestis, which had its own pandemic in the year 500, known as the Plague of Justinian. The primary means of spread of the plague were flea bites, which were hidden in clothing and textiles.
The pandemic of bubonic plague was so huge that the whole society changed, ending the days of the Middle Ages and giving rise to the Renaissance.
The plague doctor
To stop the pandemic was born the plague doctor, who were doctors specializing in care for those infected by this disease. These doctors were hired by the villages, and they took care of citizens of all social classes, rich and poor. When there were not enough doctors, people from other professions were hired to assist the infected. Given the risk of this task, was very difficult to find people prepared to do the work, many of them died and others fled. They cared for the sick, got rid of the corpses, did autopsies, and they had a listing on the public register of deaths caused by the plague.
To treat the sick they did bloodletting, leeches and toads were used every day, but this was not effective. The most famous plague doctor was Nostradamus, who gave advice such as removing infected corpses, get some fresh air, drink clean water, drink a juice made with rose hips, and do not bleed the patient. Nostradamus was a reference to stop the Black Death pandemic.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the plague doctors invented masks to protect themselves from “bad air” and prevent contagion. These masks have lenses on the eyes and a long cavity in the nose, which was filled with drugs and aromatic items. This cavity measuring about half foot in length, had 2 small vent holes, and its shape was very similar to beaks of birds. At the peak were used substances such as ambergris, mint leaves, storax, myrrh, laudanum, rose petals, camphor, cloves and straw.
The doctors clothing was very varied, although in 1619 Charles de L’Orme invented a uniform than was the most popular. This clothing consisted of a coarse cloth robe waxed, and a blouse introduced in the pants, which are tied to boots. They also wore a hat and gloves. All the costume was made in goat leather.
The plague doctors had a common accessory, a wooden cane which they used to examine patients without having to touch them. Some infected thought that the Black Death was a punishment from God, and asked to doctors to be whipped with the cane to compensate for their sins.
Today some artisan artists made handmade plague doctor masks to pay tribute to these brave doctors who helped to stop the greatest pandemic of all time. We, with the same objective, opened the first store specializing in plague doctor masks for sale. Order your mask today and we will send it to your home. We ship worldwide!
If you have questions or concerns please contact us by filling our contact form.