Short Term And Long Term Effects Of The Black Death

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The Black Death arrived in Europe in 1347. Although outbreaks of the plague had devastated the continent in the past, the level of catastrophe was unprecedented. Medical knowledge was primitive, and mass hysteria was rampant. The people of Europe needed an outlet for their frustrations. Thus, both the common people and the elite members of society accused Jews of poisoning food and water supplies. Accusations were followed by wild murders and organised mass burnings. This essay will describe Jewish massacres, and examine why the Jews were targeted. The short-term and long-term effect of the Black Death and the pogroms of Jewish people will then be discussed. “…women with their small children, cruelly and inhumanly fed to the flames.” – Henry of Hervodia In April 1348, the Jewish quarters in Toulon were ransacked, and…show more content…
Pieter Bruegel, The Triumph of Death, 1562. Reproduced from National Geographic, “Photo Gallery: Plague,” National Geographic, The long-term effects of the Black Death were radical. There were drastic changes in the geographic, economic, and demographic structures of Europe. Historians and scientists estimate that one third of the known population – 50 million people – died during the outbreak of the plague in the fourteenth century. A diminished population saw better living standards and opportunities for poorer families. Historian GM Trevelyan argues that the Black Death is as historically significant as the Industrial Revolution, and that such a huge drop in the population caused the Renaissance. In terms of Jewish history, the Black Death saw the destruction of Jewish communities hundreds of years old. The Jewish population decreased, and centuries of Jewish history were lost. No Jewish community in Western Europe demonstrated any growth in the centuries following the Black Death. The Jews remained focused on preserving their present population, rather than
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