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New findings about the black death

By: Angelika Rybalko

My first article is about new findings about the black death. The article explains that new evidence and studies of skeletons show that the black death wasn’t bubonic, but pneumonic. The main difference between the two is that bubonic is caused by bites from infected fleas, while pneumonic is airborne. Pneumonic is also more fatal than bubonic which would explain why so little people survived the black death. The article also explains that most of the studied skeletons had signs of malnutrition, sickness, vitamin deficiency, and upper body injuries (McCoy). These new findings are an issue because it could mean that doctors and scientists have been taking the wrong preventative measures since they thought the black death was bubonic.

My second article is a firsthand experience of the black death from an Italian writer that lived through it. He describes the symptoms of the plague and the people’s reaction. Some people locked themselves away from everyone and acted as if nothing was going on. Others went from house to house (since the owners were either dead, sick, or with their families), drinking and dancing. He explains that doctors could not find a cure for the black death, either because the disease was so fatal that there wasn’t even a possibility of a cure or the doctors were just too ignorant.

Maybe if the doctors during that time period had known that it was spreading through the air and not fleas, they could have come up with some sort of cure. Although both bubonic and pneumonic are plagues with similar symptoms, they have different causes for infection which means they need a different cure and means of prevention. If the doctors had the correct information, the black death could have had less fatalities and maybe could’ve even been prevented altogether (although that wouldn’t have been likely since they didn’t have access to the technology, information, and communication systems, that we have today).

Although the plague isn’t as common today, I am still concerned about the chances of having a cure since doctors believed it was bubonic up until a few years ago. Another issue is that even with these new findings, people may still believe the black death was bubonic so they will approach it and attempt to cure it like a bubonic plague, not a pneumonic one.

As a Minnesotan, the articles can be helpful and informational to people because since we live in such a cold state, sicknesses are common. Knowing that a high percentage of infected people had been sick beforehand, can help us stay informed and healthy, in case of an outbreak. Taking precautions to prevent ourselves from getting sick can decrease our chances of getting infected and provide more time for getting a cure. I know the chances of an outbreak are highly unlikely, but staying informed can help protect ourselves, the people around us, and even our entire country, in the future.

Work Cited

Boccaccio, Giovanni, The Decameron vol. I (translated by Richard Aldington illustrated by Jean de Bosschere) (1930); Gottfried, Robert, The Black Death (1983).

McCoy, Terrence. “Everything You Know about the Black Death Is Wrong.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 Mar. 2014.

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The Bubonic Plague: Is it really gone?

The Bubonic Plague, I bet you’ve heard those words before. Probably in High School in your World History class or maybe in your college history class. You probably instantly wanted to go to sleep as soon as you heard those words. Do you ever really reflect or even think about the Bubonic Plague and how it still continues to have a huge impact on our life now? Finding this article which talks more in depth on how the plague is spread. In a way hearing about the three forms of the plague and how it came from Yersinia Pestis bacterium was weird and it made me very uncomfortable. It’s so weird that how something from our past that made so many die is somewhere still lingering. I enjoyed this article though, it was interesting to learn how this deadly plague still is problem and mainly in second world nations.

The article took a turn in the middle and talks about how some are now debating whether that plague was even the plague that killed 50% of Europe’s population decades ago. Although I do see the point of view of someone view on this. I don’t believe it matters, if 50% of Europe’s population died it was a horrific thing and the fact that people are still getting infected today shows that there should be way more awareness around the topic mostly in classes who teach about the historical black plague. Supposively, there was research done which finally settled this debate that the plague is the plague and nothing else.

The first article talks about the spread of the plague and the scientific aspect of it. My second article is more about the first hand experience and what was going through people’s mind around the world. It is a cronical written at the cathedral priority of Rochester in between 1314 and 1350. It describes the enormous impact it had on peasant’s lives and how so many people died that the poor took jobs from people who had died from the plague. These both are similar because they both had a huge effect on those surrounding the person with the plague. It shows how much the plague changed lives. The issue that is raised here is that people didn’t know how to cope with the effects of the bubonic plague. This would not be interesting or inpactful to a Minnesotan in 2019.

Overall, This article and what a Minnesotan could take from it would be to know is that the plague is still around and is still a issue. Although I think history won’t repeat itself due to better medicine or antibiotics. Minnesotans should really be careful on how they treat the earth and take proper precautions to not spread this plague.

Work cited:



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The Black Plague then and now.

By: Jack Parks

The first source I have is a background on how the black plague formed. It came from ships in the mid 1300s when trading was big in the European district. It killed more than 20 million people in Europe, and they had no idea where it was coming from or how to treat it. Just a biological nightmare! Later they found out that it came from fleas on the rats and was treated accordingly.

The second source I have found talks about how there was a rare case of the black plague in Idaho. A 14 year old boy in June of 2018 contracted the disease they think from the squirrels in the area. He was treated though and no harm was done.

These two sources are similar because it’s crazy nearly seven-hundred years later and the disease is still around. This portrays to Minnesotans because no matter where you are or how old you may be there could be a disease in your area that you don’t even know of. So it is very important to have great hygiene and keep yourself clean.

Source 1: https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/black-death

Source 2: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322198.php

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Black Death and Superbugs

It’s crazy to think that a bacterium, capable of killing an estimated 30-60% of the European population a few hundred years ago could hardly harm a fly today. Our knowledge of deadly bacteria has grown tremendously since the time Black Death was able to wipe out thousands of people. With the knowledge we’ve gained through extensive research and studies, we are now able to prevent such disastrous outbreaks of bubonic plague, tuberculosis, and smallpox with vaccines, antibiotics, and treatment protocols. However, even with our enhanced understanding of medicine and treatment, bacteria unfortunately has also continued to intensify and some are even coming back with a bit of a vengeance. Medical professionals are able to stop these outbreaks that killed so many in the 1300’s but are unable to do so with many newer, stronger bacteria. An example of this would be superbugs. A superbug, defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “a pathogenic microorganism and especially a bacterium that has developed resistance to the medications normally used against it”. In other words we as a society have used so many vaccinations to treat certain bacteria that they have now developed a resistance to those vaccines. So in a way, with the age of superbugs upon us, we are just like that back at square one. We now, similarly to people in the 1300’s are experiencing killer bacteria and no way to stop them. In an article by Amanda B. Keener, a science journalist with a PhD in microbiology and immunology, she mentions, “drug-resistant infections account for 2 million infections and lead to 23,000 deaths in the United States per year.” 23,000 per year! That’s insane to think about. Today, with the technology we have it’s scary to think that 23,000 people a year are dying from seemingly unstoppable bacteria. Hundreds of years later, with tremendous medical and technological advancements and we are still struggling with some of the same issues people in the 1300’s faced. Even though it can be scary to think about, we are able to take a step back, look into the past and see a common pattern or trend. Every time there is a deadly disease, or any disease for that matter, there is someone out there who will discover a solution. Slowly the bacteria will become less and less common until it resurfaces somewhere, but by the time this happens it’s generally not a big threat to the community as there are known ways to avoid contracting it and a way of stopping or at least slowing it down for those who already have. With superbugs becoming more and more common it can be extremely frightening and panic inducing however, if the past has taught us anything it would be to not do anything rash and just find out as much as we can about the bacteria. During the bubonic plague, people inferred cats were the carriers/cause of this deadly infectious disease. Because of this people killed off all cats. Later people learned that it was not cats but rather rodents that carried the disease. Unfortunately, cats kill rodents and since people slaughtered all the cats there were that many more rodents roaming about the cities, spreading disease. We may be in the same spot of trial and error as people in the 1300’s were but we have the benefit of learning from their mistakes.

Pinterest post – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/398216792028696754/

Primary History source- http://go.galegroup.com.ndcproxy.mnpals.net/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3623301440&v=2.1&u=mnanorman&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=8408c1edcec08d3a15afd3086702fa2a

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The Renaissance

The two pictures linked are Renascence portraits; one is of Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol and comes form a pinterest post that got its picture from The World of Hapsburgs website. The second picture is of three people a young man, young women and a older man who are playing cards, the older gentleman is looking over the young woman’s shoulder as if to indicate that he is teaching her how to play or that he is interested in the out come of the game. The first photo is clearly of someone of great wealth and shows that in the grandness of the era clothes were not a forgot way to show persons wealth. The Archduke would have had great art and architecture to show of his great wealth but one aspect that seems to not be accounted for is the fashion of the time while it now seems bold and out dated yet it was just as important as other parts of the renascence as defined by history.com “Generally described as taking place from the 14th century to the 17th century, the Renaissance promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature and art”. The second picture is more important than that of the Archduke as the wealthy could afford to have themselves painted and bespoke artwork made but art that took on subjects that were average people is not as common as it did not pay the bills for the artist so it had to mean something to the creator to spend his/her time and money to paint the three playing a game. The fact a women is playing a card game is likely the reasons that it was created as it rarity might have sparked creativity for the creator or they thought it might attract buyers as it might have been unusual as this could be a game in that people gamble as money seems to be on the table. The pictures are seemingly not connected but given the era they are as they show the contrast in life, surroundings, and clothing as the pictures feel different but show the social divide of the Renascence which is an overlooked aspect of the period.      


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Black Death

In these articles about the Black Death it talks a lot about how it happened and what effects there was to community and people.  The Black Death is also know as the plague which is spread by a kind of pestis which was found in the 19thcentury.  It hit a couple of different places and went down the line of the trading route.  There wasn’t a definite known way that it was getting spread from one person to another. This would affect the community and people because family members and friends would be dying so they would be losing loved ones.  Also with it affecting the trading routes it made trading hard because it could easily get spread through that.  So the way that people would receive things would be really life threating because of this pestis that would go people to people.  

The two sources that I am going off both talk about how this was happening and how it would kill people. Talks about how it would spread from city to city and people to people.  Some issues that raised where how it was affecting people and doing to so many people. So many innocent people would get this and die.  It is sad by how people would get this and have no clue and would just die and others would lose family and friends from it that they loved.  Something that is interesting is how it was affecting trading.  Even though Minnesota doesn’t have that if they did we would all be affected by it too.  Something that would relate to Minnesota is how some people can die for no reason and have no clue how or why that was kind of the same thing with the Black Death but thankfully they knew what was going on.  

Source 1: https://www.historytoday.com/archive/black-death-greatest-catastrophe-ever

Source 2: https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/black-death

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The Black Death Then and Now

From two separate sources (source 1, source 2) about the black death, or the plague,  that I read, the black death or plague is a common bacterial infection, and it can be very severe, even now if not treated properly.  It also talked about how it is treated in modern times and also about how to prevent the plague as well. The articles discuss how it spreads among animals and can be spread to people.  They also explain the different kinds of plague that exist and how people and animals can get them and what they do. The articles also explain how common the plague is among people and animals .

My sources relate to each other because they both talk about the plague and specifically, how it impacts the modern world.

The sources raise the issue of how common it is for animals to have the plague.  In one article it states how the western half of the United States has a high amount of rodents with the plague.  Then pets can contract the plague from interaction with the rodents, and then it can spread to humans. With the use of  antibiotics the chances of death is significantly lowered to eleven percent. Receiving treatment quickly after being infected, lowers the chance of death.

This relates to Minnesotans because the plague can be spread to animals, specifically pets.  During the winter months, people usually spend their time in the house with their pets. If they have a pet in a closely confined area with a carrier of the plague, it  could mean a likely chance of infection for the pet owner. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of the plague in case of this event.

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