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What was the Black Death?

An infected rat fleaAn infected rat fleaBetween 1347 and 1350, a terrible disease called the bubonic plague swept in from Asia and spread across Europe. The plague was carried by rat fleas that feasted on people's blood. It killed almost everyone it infected. Perhaps 20 million people throughout Europe perished. One third of the population of England died. It was known as the Black Death.

Medieval towns

A medieval townA medieval town

The time in European history between the years 600 to 1500 is called the Middle Ages, or medieval times. Most people lived and worked farming the land. But towns started to grow larger and more important. They were places where markets were regularly held and where craftsmen lived and worked.

Symptoms of bubonic plague were swellings, called buboes, in the groin and armpits. These lasted for up to a week. Half of all the people who caught the plague died from it.

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