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History of The Black Death


By Yahya Noor

What is the Black Death? When did it take place? how many people died from it?

The black death is one of the most influential human diseases in human history .To learn about the Black Plague, we have to go to it’s origins in early China. Before the plague came to Europe it passed through the Mediterranean but originally came from Asia. A big misconception  that people have about the Black Death is that it only took this in Europe. Well in fact the Plague did killed people in India,China and Egypt. Till this day the Black Death is still around the world today. More recently the Plague resurface in Madagascar and Yumen,China. During Medieval Europe the Plague was pass around via rats and other rodents. In Yeman,China the person got infected by “touching a dead marmot” which is way people get the Plague. The great thing about living in 2019 is that we can cure the Plague and we know more about the Plague than they did in Medieval times. So we don’t have to worry about it now days thanks to antibiotics, so the deadly bacteria is not as dangerous as it once was. But don’t think just because we have antibiotics and quicker ways of treatment that other people in the world may not have that too. Another thing that people don’t know about the Plague is that it animals were also killed goats pigs sheep etc. The Black Death took place during 14th-century and it took place China and pass through Mediterranean and eventually it made its way to highly populated areas in Europe. When the Plague came to Europe many people didn’t know how to deal with it or how to cure it. People believed it was divine intervention and a punishment from God. The Plague was going around towns/cities and it was killing many people.One of the people’s was that no one knew how the Plague was going around or how to stop it. As things got bad many people panic and the healthy avoided the sick wherever they could and even worse doctors didn’t want to see the sick. People were also leaving the Cities because many of deaths took place in the cities while wiping some small towns. Even as people fled the the cities and countryside the Plague can’t be stopped. Like before people didn’t understand how the biology of the new disease worked and they thought it was punishment from God. They thought this because people were very religious and seeing this disease kill the rich and poor and it made people think that these people were dying for sins against God and their punishment was this Plague. Now we know that this was wrong and it was biology not divine intervention. The eventually the Plague slowed down by 1350s but it was still around for centuries. The disease was studied more and we know more about it now than we did before but we have not eliminated from the world.

The reason I use these sources is because there are trusted news sites and the other people are historians who wrote books on the The Black Death. One of the other sources is a University that sites historians who wrote studies and papers on this time period and more importantly on The Black Death.
Black Death Plague Surfaces In China And Forces Government To Seal Off A Whole City By Nicolás Medina Mora BuzzFeed News Reporter

John Aberth, The Black Death: The Great Mortality of 1348-1350

Brown University(www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/dweb/plague/)

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Black Death and Christianity

I think for most people religion is one of the very important matter that they value and respect in their lives. With that being said though, how much does our belief in god influence our life? And do we allow our value in religion to decide what is wrong and right when it comes to our health? The black death was one one of the deadliest plague that spread out in Europe during the medieval era. In result of  this horrible diseases that happened in the entire human history, one third of Europe’s population was wiped out. This devastating plague had huge impact in Europe’s society, economy, and medicine , but most importantly in the world of Christianity, who believed that the plague was the the result of people’s sins in the world and punishment from god. The lack of knowledge and poor beliefs in medicine pushed people to trust the church and believed they would be cured. when they realized they weren’t being cured and nobody was getting better by the church,they started doubting their beliefs, it made huge divisiveness between the church and the people, and killed many innocent people who were believed to be sinners. since then there have been many diseases that broke in this world and killed many people, but people have better understanding  and medical care to prevent this kind chaos from happening again. I think humankind can still value and knowledge the importance of having to believe in god, but it is dangerous and not helpful method to just depend on risk the many lives.

sources
https://deathblack.wordpress.com/category/church/

http://www.medievalists.net/2015/02/priests-black-death/

https://historycollection.co/10-ways-the-black-death-turned-medieval-society-upside-down/3/


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The Spread of the Black Death and Mental Illness

The spread of the Black Death during the fourteenth century may not seem like a topic that would be relevant today. However, it does relate to current illnesses. In a recent news article, Shamard Charles, M.D. describes how the spread of social media has caused a generational shift in mood disorders. “The rate of individuals reporting symptoms consistent with major depression in the last 12 months increased 52 percent in adolescents from 2005 to 2017… And the rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased a staggering 47 percent from 2008 to 2017. One reason for the increase may be that digital media use has had a bigger impact on teens and young adults than older adults who tend to have more stable social lives,” (Charles). The plague is important to understand because of how rapidly it spread and how many people it affected. Like the plague, the amount of people who use social media is spreading like wildfire. One of the articles I read about the Black Death states, “Plague can be treated successfully if it is caught early,” (Cua and Frey). This is also true for mental illness. In a letter written in 1348 by an Italian humanist and scholar, Petrarch, to his brother he writes, “Question your doctors, they are dumb,” (Petrarch). I found this quote very interesting. During this time, doctors were not exactly sure how to treat the plague. I think that relates to society today because there is still a lot about mental illness that we do not know and research that needs to be done. I think it is important for not only us as Minnesotans, but for the world to consider what role social media plays in our distress. Mental illness and social media are on the rise, and like the plague, it is spreading fast.

Works Cited

Charles, Shamard. “Social Media Linked to Rise in Mental Health Disorders in Teens, Survey Finds.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 14 Mar. 2019, www.nbcnews.com/health/mental-health/social-media-linked-rise-mental-health-disorders-teens-survey-finds-n982526

Cua, Arnold, and Rebecca J. Frey. “Plague.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, edited by Jacqueline L. Longe, 5th ed., vol. 6, Gale, 2015, pp. 4002-4005. Gale Virtual Reference Libraryhttp://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3623301440/GVRL?u=mnanorman&sid=GVRL&xid=fe8b701f

“Petrarch: Letter to His Brother on the Black Death (1348).” Daily Life through History, ABC-CLIO, 2019, dailylife2.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1828386

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HAJJ 1324/2018

Every year during the month of Dhu Al-Hijjah Muslims from all over the world congregate to the holy city of Mecca to perform the Hajj. The Hajj, performed annually is a one of the five pillars of Islam, every Muslim that is physically, mentally, and financially capable are required to perform the Hajj one time in their life. Personally, I have yet to perform the Hajj due to my financial restrictions, truthfully however, it probably has more to due to my spiritual immaturity, but we’ll talk about that another time. 

According to GASTAT(General Authority for Stations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) Mecca hosted over 2.5 million pilgrims during the 2018 pilgrimage, the country of Saudi Arabia spent over $80 million to prepare for the hajj, with each pilgrim spending on average $8000 to participate, many of whom set aside their finances for years.  In comparison, Mansa Musa journey to Hajj was much more extravagant. It is reported, that on his way to Hajj Mansa Musas envoy to consisted of 60,000 men, of which 500 where each carrying a 6 pound solid gold staff, 80 camels loaded with 300 pounds of gold dust each.  

On his journey to Mecca, Mansa Musa stopped in many places, showering people with gifts and gold, his gift giving changed the economic landscape of cities for many years after his arrival. As stated by Ancient History encyclopedia, when Musa entered into Cairo he was confronted by an Egyptian Sultan, who required that Musa kiss the ground to show respect to Egyptian land, however, Musa refused and instead gifted the Sultan with 50,000 gold dinars, he would also go on give away so much gold that the value of the gold dinar dropped by 20%. Although Musa was he was naively charitable, we must not forget that he was considered the richest man to every walk the earth to this day.  

It’s safe to say that the average Muslim isn’t financially blessed like Mansa Musa, however, there are many ways you can be charitable during your Hajj. Just the other day I witnessed a video on social media of a man in a wheelchair performing the Tawaf (a ritual where you must circle the Kabba 7 times), out of know where a fellow senior pilgrim helped push the man to perform his Tawaf with ease, asking for nothing in return. Such acts like this, simple yet grand show non-Muslims around the world the compassion humans have for one another when coming together for the same cause.  

If any Minnesotan is interested in the Hajj there is tons of information you can sift thru on the internet, and YouTube about Hajj, and if you know a Muslim I’m more than certain they would be more than happy to fill you curiosity with the right information. 

Works cited:

http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/activity/Mali_to_mecca/

https://www.ancient.eu/Mansa_Musa_I/

https://www.stats.gov.sa/en

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Similarities in the Economy during the Black Death and Ebola Virus

During the Black Death/Plague outbreak, the economy made a sharp downfall as people started to fall ill, and over 60% of Europe’s population died. At one of the worst points, the plague infected so fast that people would die in the streets and unnoticed in their homes, until neighbors happened to smell the rotting flesh from their homes. The economy was in despair from the large amount of casualties and money spent to eradicate the plague in vain. Even though the economy was in despair, people that survived the plague started to have a higher standard of living, from land freeing up and more goods not being used. People were able to start moving forward in the economy, even as so many people were dying. When the plague was over with, the economy started to become better and better, people healthier and goods and money unused from less people in the economy.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-black-death-how-rats-fleas-germs-almost-wiped-out-europe-19745

The Ebola virus was not as shockingly bad as the plague was, but it was still horrible for the places infected and the economy. The economy decreased by 30% during the ebola outbreak and places had even lower economy than they did now. It wasn’t all bad, as places with more money in the area, such as mining companies, donated money towards the health association to help with ebola cases and also for trying to find a cure. When the ebola outbreak happened, and it got carried by someone to the US, I still remember everyone talking about it and getting worried if it was to spread, as it was a very rare disease and there was still no cure. I think that the ebola virus is similar in the economy issues that happened during the plague, as both caused an impact on the economy, and then rose when it was over. The economy still hasn’t risen since the ebola outbreak, because there is still more cases of ebola outbreaks in that area even now. I think it’s important for us to know about the details of the plague, because if the ebola was ever spread here, we would know at least a little about how the economy would act, until a cure was found.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-288

After thinking about these two viruses and how they have affected people and the economy, I think the results of both outbreaks could be similar in the prospect of the economy. Hopefully the ebola virus will never spread farther than where it is now, but we should always be well educated about outbreaks of diseases and viruses, if it were to spread around more, like how the plague did. I think that since we are more educated on medicines and illnesses now, we would be better off than when the plague broke out, but that doesn’t mean we would have a medicine or treatment for a new illness spreading. Hopefully being educated about medicines and the economy will help us out the next time something spreads like ebola or the plague.

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Genghis Khan Wasn’t Cruel, He Just Had a Green Thumb

Genghis Khan’s military strength and will to destroy those who stood in his way actually helped the environment. In a news article by The Guardian, journalist Jon Henley writes that Genghis Khan’s conquests “may have scrubbed 700m tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere – roughly the quantity of carbon dioxide generated in a year through global petrol consumption”. This is a result of the fact that the decimated lands which were once heavily populated start to form back into carbon-absorbing forests. Genghis Khan’s conquests are described in the Mongolian account of the great Khan’s life written some time after his death in 1227. The account is called the Secret History of the Mongols and describes Genghis Khan’s life from birth to death. The account is separated into chapters each chronicling a different part of his life. Most of the chapters are concerning conquests of other villages and civilizations. The vast conquests as described in the Secret History of the Mongols explain how there was so much emptiness after Genghis’s squad wiped the area clean. He was a terrible person to those that he considered an enemy and he considered many people his enemy as seen from the Mongolian account. The two sources can be compared to show 1) Genghis Khan’s entire life of conquering lands and 2) to show that many of this conquered land would be deserted and would return to a rich forest and plant-based area.

The issue that this raises is the way in which Genghis went about helping the earth. Obviously, Genghis Khan did not have the best interests of the climate in mind when he went about terrorizing his enemies and the atrocities that he committed cannot be justified by the environmental benefits that were a result of the conquests. At the time of his reign, the earth was not in as dire a state as it is today when it comes to the climate. The problem of climate change is one that demands attention from Minnesotans and everyone in the world today. The answer to this problem is not through large scale destruction of entire civilizations, however, a large-scale shift in certain destructive ways of living is necessary. We’re starting to see some of the effects of climate change and the effects will continue to worsen unless drastic measures are taken. Minnesotans can work on solutions such as using clean energy, especially in the cold winters and warm summers. Other solutions include eating a more plant-based diet and reducing plastic waste and other non-earth-friendly waste. Its important for everyone to do small things to help but it is immensely important to get our countries leaders to pass legislation to defend against climate change. It doesn’t take an army of highly skilled horseback riding Mongols to save the earth, it just takes a global community of caring people working toward a common goal.

Historical Primary Source: Secret History of the Mongols https://cedar.wwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=cedarbooks

Contemporary Source: News Article

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2011/jan/26/genghis-khan-eco-warrior?CMP=share_btn_tw

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The Return of the plague

In the modern era we have managed to overcome many diseases, but according to this CNN article the threat remains. The article talks about the states in which the cases occurred. It also talked about the symptoms, death rates, and treatment of the plague. The average number of plague cases in the U.S. every year is 7 this also fluctuates greatly from time to time sometimes reaching 15-17 cases in a year. Plagues are not even a threat to the average person today especially within the U.S. where the rate is literally less than 1 in a million. The article however states that it isnt proven as to what exactly is causing this specific increase in cases of the plague.

The threat is very small but we worsen the situation by using our free speech as citizens to promote baseless conspiracy theories to try and increase public distrust in vaccines and medicine in general. This movement called “Anti-vaxer” can be the start of a great catastrophe if they are successful. They use “alternative facts” to try and make it seem as though the very medications to stop or prevent these diseases will actually give you the disease in mention or give you some other illness so that the doctors can make profit off of your return to the hospital. In addition to this a common argument is that the vaccines carry numerous toxins and harmful ingredients particularly to children and are therefore unsafe to consumption and should be banned or restricted.


An example of a pseudo-science website bent on making an enemy out of vaccinations is this article from “A Voice For Change”. This article mostly tries to list components of vaccines and doesn’t tell us any reason to believe these are causing harm it then goes on to state some wild facts afterwards such as “It’s rare that ANY kid completely escapes from some effect caused by the toxic materials in vaccines”. There is a journal from the NCBI that responds to this here.

Thanks to the “anti-vaxer” community there is already a surge in diseases thought of before to be eliminated. My best example being the increase in measles. This article by the CNN goes into how measles made a return and how this is likely due to people being hesitant to take the vaccine. This distrust being caused by this community could later on lead to more outbreaks possibly even greater numbers of plague cases.

This movement is largely based in the U.S. as a result this puts Minnesota at direct risk to exposure not only to this rhetoric but to these diseases aswell. Even if we were to say that this movement never gains any traction in Minnesota and that this state remains believing in vaccinations we still have a moral obligation as well as a clear interest to make sure other states do well alongside us especially those in close proximity.

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