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The Black Death: Nature's Way of Saying We Are Doing It Wrong

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Essay title: The Black Death: Nature's Way of Saying We Are Doing It Wrong

The Black Death: Nature’s Way of Saying We Are Doing It Wrong

Throughout the known world, the human race has been inhabited by disease. For centuries, groups of people have struggled to adapt and create balances between themselves and diseases. Disease not only affects the populations of large areas, but creates wars, puts pressure on global resources, and causes many groups of people to lose sight of their beliefs in the hopes that there will be an answer somewhere else. Many scholars speculate that it was the Mongols who are responsible for the spread of plague to Eurasia. In the reading of sources and documents, one can certainly see why the Mongols are to blame. Because of the Mongols’ organizational structures, the Black Death spread throughout Eurasia, and reeked havoc on the economic, religious, and social life of Europe.

The Mongols were nomadic people from the steppe lands of Central Asia. Towards the end of the thirteenth century, the Mongols had conquered many city-states to make it the largest empire in the world. As the empire grew, communication from the East to the West became more and more inadequate, so they developed what is known as the Yam system, which used to be called the Silk Road Network.# With post stations every twenty-five miles, travelers, such as merchants and the Mongolian army, were able to make a two hundred mile journey, from one side of the nation to the other, in a day.# The Merchants, however, were not the only living things traveling along the Yam. W.H. McNeill, author of Plagues and Peoples, makes the argument that Europe has the Mongols to thank for the existence of the Black Death.# Many of the rats, or Steppe Marmots, that were inhabiting that part of the country, were carrying with them fleas that were infected with the bubonic plague. Those rats would wonder along the Yam spreading the plague to the merchants and armies, who would later spread it on to the rest of the world.

After reports of outbreaks in China in the early 1300’s, the bubonic plague spread rapidly to Europe. Once in Europe, the social and economic life began to undergo changes. To start, because of the high mortality rate, there was a shortage of both producers and consumers. This shortage, in turn, caused the price of labor wages to increase, while creating a decrease in the price of goods.# From there, a new standard of living was created for the Serfs, who were finding it easier to obtain food and more land. The governments in Europe had no idea how to deal with such a change, so they did the only thing they knew how. The governments set up labor laws, prohibited exports of certain foods, as well as set up price controls.# One scholar, by the name of John Aberth, called the government’s actions, “a bold attempt to turn back the economic clock…”# Not only did the Black Death change the economy of Europe, but the plague also had an impact on religion.

Many of the people believed that the plague was

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