One of the most awful diseases in the world caused a surprising advance in medicine. Though the Black Death killed roughly a third of the people in the nations it touched, it ended half a century of religion-induced medical ignorance.
Did you know: Investigating the cause of death on people is called an “autopsy”, while for anything else? That’s called a “necropsy”.
Some believe that the black plague made the Renaissance happen, partly because many of the survivors were suddenly rich (from inheriting from a lot of dead relatives) and partly from a drive to put the black death as far behind them as possible. It’s not far fetched – a lot current culture can be traced to impact from either during or after the two World Wars. Men having short hair and clean shaven is attributed to WW1 trench warfare, lobster changed from food for the poor to high class because it wasn’t rationed like meat… The predominant language in North America was German until the wars, and largely due to internment camps and the practice around them of confiscating land, business, and money. The butterfly effect…
People don’t die of the Black Plague in the 21st century — except when they do. And the disease won’t be going away any time soon.
Earlier this month, a high school student in Colorado died of the disease. On average, seven people in the U.S. catch the plague every year; some years, it’s only one, and in other years, it’s as many as 17. Worldwide, the plague strikes about 2,000 people every year, and about 10% of them will die. That’s quite a step down for the disease that killed nearly a third of the population of Medieval Europe in its heyday. But why hasn’t the plague faded quietly into the history books?