Plague and Pestilence

barb drummond curious historian

With the outbreak of Covid, many people are drawing parallels between it and the Black Death, and it is worth looking at some relevant echoes, but there are significant differences.

From about 800-1200 was the Medieval warm period, which allowed Europe’s population, agriculture and settlements to expand and thrive. The Norse went fishing further afield and settled in Iceland and fish off North America. They also raided Britain, and water levels rose so Norwich and Bristol, now far inland, became major ports.

Trade flourished but in 1302, a rebellion in Flanders saw most of France’s knights drowned due to incessant downpours. In 1315 saw Europe beset with almost constant rains from Ireland to Germany and Scandinavia, washing away fields that had been reclaimed from forests to feed their growing populations. In northern England thousands of acres of reclaimed farmland became barren and rocky. What little grain was harvested could not…

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