Dark Ages

Medical History --- Plagues and Epidemics

Author: 
Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
Article Type: 
Feature Article
Issue: 
Winter 2002
Volume Number: 
7
Issue Number: 
4

Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, there have been three major bubonic plague epidemics, which afflicted large segments of the population in the continuous Eurasian landmass and North Africa. Death quickly followed the trade routes of the times. The death toll is almost incomprehensible. The Plague of Justinian (6th Century A.D.), the Black Death (14th Century A.D.), and the Bubonic Plague (1665-1666, which coincided with the Great Fire of London) caused an estimated 137 million dead in a world much more sparsely populated than it is today.