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.


Pages: 1 2