From 1000 until the end of 1300 there had been a strong European economic and social recovery, which was awarded a new population growth. Agriculture was flourishing: many land had been recovered, reclaiming marshland, terracing hills, and had been discovered new techniques for getting the best fields. The cities, the main place of trade, came back to life.
In the early '300, however, the company is faced with the lack of resources: as thriving, agriculture no longer keeps pace with population growth. The balance that had allowed the previous development, therefore, breaks. And 'likely, moreover, that from the 20 of 1300 there have been strong climate change in Europe: some historians speak of a drop in temperature and long winters, other than extremely rainy seasons that caused the great famine (the seeds rotting even before be collected).
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In this society already weakened by famine, therefore, the disease creeps plague (Latin peius -> worst), for the first time in 1347 and then, in a brutal manner, in 1348. It has a rapid spread and relentless, time incubation no more than six days and the doctors do not find any remedy. More than a third of Europe's population died, and it will take more than three centuries before the return to the continent demographically that preceded this epidemic. The disease will reappear in Europe several times in later centuries, but never destructive as the first time, and only at the beginning of '900 a committee of British scientists is able to identify and isolate the plague bacillus.
Stand out, now as then, two types of plague:
-bubbonica: glands swell, blacks formed tumors throughout the body. The mortality rate, according to the period, varies from 25% to 90%, but also comes to touch the 99%.
-polmonare: is a complication of bubonic, death is certain (100%).
Although then it was not known, the plague bacillus was transmitted by fleas of rats; It born in Asia, but this being a sparsely populated continent the disease initially struggling to expand; with the Mongol conquest and the birth of the Silk Road, however, it is created between Asia and Europe one peaceful territory where trades freely. In 1331 China is infected, and 15 years later, in 1346, the plague arrives at Caffa on the Black Sea. From there, 19 Genoese ships the lead first in Constantinople, then in the Strait of Messina, in southern France and throughout Europe.
Social impact of the plague
The plague had a disastrous effect on society. The terror of the disease was likely to lead to breakage of closer links, such as family members, between mother and son, between brothers ...
Some identify the plague divine punishment and spread in the streets bands of penitents that run the city in procession scourging (from the point of view of health is disastrous, because infinitely increases the chances of infection). Others, given the unpredictability of the plague and the absolute impossibility of fighting it, trying to make the most of their remaining time, giving themselves to outbursts and excesses.
The scapegoat that the company needs to look at every critical moment of history is found, as usual, in the Jews, accused of having spread the disease to appropriate the wealth. A worthless protests of the pope and a few "enlightened", who claim that the Jews get sick like everybody else; in the years of the plague they are persecuted like no other, except, perhaps, the lepers.