10 Worst Plagues in the History
History is always spotted with epidemics and plagues. Many of them stand as unique and crucial for their severity and impact on future generations. Ten of the worst plague spotted in past are listed below.
10. Plague of Athens
The Plague of Athens was very epidemic which hit the city of Athens in ancient Greece during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC), when an Athenian victory reached near. It is believed that they entered Athens through Piraeus, the city’s port and sole source which was main source of food and supplies. Another city Sparta was also struck by the disease. This plague effected twice in 426C and in the winter of 429 BC. However, it is generally agreed by the Historian that the loss of this war may have covered the way for the success to Macedonians and, ultimately, the Romans. The disease has been considered an outbreak of the plague in its many forms, but some considerations of reported symptoms and epidemiology has led scholars to advance alternative explanations and include typhus, smallpox, measles, and toxic shock syndrome.
9. Moscow Plague and Riot
The first signs of plague in Moscow observed in late 1770, which turned into a major epidemic plague in the spring of 1771. The measures taken by the authorities, such as setting up of quarantines, denial of public baths, etc.,which caused fear and anger among the citizens. The city’s economy was almost paralyzed because many factories, markets, stores, and administrative buildings had been closed.
All of this was followed by severe food shortages, which resulted in weakening the living conditions for the people living in city of Moscow. Russian lords living in Moscow were well-off, so, they left Moscow due to the plague outbreak. On the morning of September 17, 1771, around 1000 people gathered at the Spasskiye gates again, demanding the release of quarantines and release of captured people. The army managed to disperse the crowd yet again and finally concealed the riot. About 300 to 500 people were brought to trial. A government commission headed by Grigory Orlov was sent to Moscow on September 26 to restore order. It took some measures against the plague and provided citizens with work and food, which would finally pacify the people of Moscow.
8. American Plagues
The Americans had been largely isolated from the Eurasian–African landmass. First contacts between Europeans and native people of the American continents brought result in import of measles and smallpox, as well as other Eurasian diseases. These diseases spread rapidly among Native Americans people, and led to a drastic drop in population and the American culture also collapsed.
Smallpox and measles invaded and weakened the Aztec and Inca civilizations in Central and South America in the 16th century. These disease, result in loss of population and death of military and social leaders, contributed to the downfall of both American empires and the defeat of American people to Europeans. Diseases however passed in both directions.
7. Great Plague of London
The Great Plague of London was a great outbreak of disease in England that killed 75,000 to 100,000 people, up to a fifth of London’s population. The disease was historically identified as bubonic plague, an infection by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, transmitted through fleas. The Plague was remembered after the “great” plague because it was one of the last widespread outbreaks in England. Although, the disease causing the epidemic has been identified as bubonic plague, no direct evidence of plague has ever been uncovered.
6. Great Plague of Marseille
The Great Plague of Marseille was one of the most noteworthy European outbreaks of Marseille in the early 18th century. In 1720, the disease killed 100,000 people in the city of Marseille, France and the surrounding provinces. However, Marseille recovered quickly from the plague. Authorities tried to hide the truth: the bodies were buried secretly but after many weeks, the Authorities took the decision to quarantine the effected area, command of Count Orlov. The Great Plague of Marseille has some special features, mainly the construction of a “plague wall” circling Marseille 20 miles around.
Authorities attempted to stop the spread of plague and decided to pass a by the Act of Parliament of Aix that may have death penalty for any person communication between Marseille and the rest of Province to enforce this separation.
5. Plague of Justinian
The Plague of Justinian was a deadly disease that afflicted the Byzantine Empire, including its capital Constantinople, in the years 541–542 AD. The main cause of the pandemic was plague, which later became Black Death of the 14th century. It was almost worldwide, striking Central and South Asia, North Africa and Arabia, and Europe as far north as Denmark and as far west as Ireland.
Modern scholars believe that the plague killed up to 5,000 people per day. It ultimately killed perhaps 40% of the city’s inhabitants.
4. Great Plague of Milan
The Milan Plague was a series of outbreaks of bubonic plague which occurred for three years in Northern Italy. This epidemic, is referred to as Great Plague of Milan, it claimed approximately 280,000 people, death causality were more in the city of Lombardy and Venice.
This is considered one of the last outbreaks of the centuries-long epidemic of plague which began with the Black Death. German and French troops carried the plague to the city of Mantuain 1629, as a result of troop movements associated with the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). Venetian troops, infected with the disease, retreated into northern and Central Italy, spreading the infection. Overall, Milan suffered huge casualties and approximately half the population died in only Milan (60,000 deaths out of total population of 130000).
3. Antonine Plague
The Antonine Plague was an ancient pandemic, of either smallpox or measles, brought back to the Roman troops returning from campaigns in the Near East. The epidemic claimed the lives of two Roman emperors, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose family name, Antoninus, was given to the epidemic. The disease broke out again after nine years , according to the Roman historian this plague caused up to 2,000 deaths a day at Rome, one quarter of those infected. Total deaths have were about five million. Disease killed as much as 70% of the population in some areas, and decimated the Roman army. This epidemic plagues effected social and political throughout the Roman Empire, particularly in literature and art.
2. The Third Pandemic
Third Pandemic is the name given to a major plague pandemic that began in the Yunnan province China in 1855. This episode of great plague spread to all inhabited continents, and ultimately killed more than 12 million people in India and China alone. According to the World Health Organization, the deadly disease was considered active until 1959, when worldwide casualties dropped to 100 to 200 per year. The great plague was endemic in populations of infected ground rodents in central Asia, and was a known cause of death among migrant and established human populations in that region for centuries; however, an influx of new people due to political conflicts and global trade led to the distribution of this disease throughout the world.
1. The Black Death
The Black Death was deadliest plague in human history; it was caused by a bacterium named Yersinia pestis (Plague). The origins of the plague are disputed among some scholars. Some historians believe that this deadly disease began in China or Central Asia in the late 1320s or 1330s, and during the next years merchants and solders carried this disease up to Crimea in Southern Russia. And some othe scholars believe the plague was endemic in Southern Russia. In any case, the plague spread to Western Europe and North Africa during the 1340s. The total number of deaths worldwide is estimated at about 75 million people, approximately 25–50 million deaths in Europe.