A word that has struck fear in the hearts of man since the
earliest of times.
It has also lead to some of the greatest historical events and
stories of our time.
The ancient cities of Rome and Athens, in their downfall,
were finished off by pestilence.
The Bubonic Plague, also known as The
Black Death, devastated Europe in the 14th century, starting a new age.
great warrior Ivan the Terrible was stricken with disease, and driven mad.
During the "exploration" of the new world, Cortes's greatest ally against the
Aztecs was smallpox.
Napoleon's Grand Army was defeated by the
Russians, and typhus.
Queen Victoria spread hemophilia to her heirs,
leading to the illness of the only son of Czar Nicholas, and the fall of
monarchy in Russia.1
All the events are horrible in every way, but have
struck a chord with people around the world.
Perhaps it is our inherent
So, the question is, if these events happened once, why
can't they happen again?
Let us take a look at the most horrible, so far, of the plagues:
It took Europe by storm from approximately 1345 to 1361.
It would also make small comebacks throughout the next 400 years, but never
like it did the first time.
It also reached into Africa, China, Russia, and the
It was truly a worldwide pandemic.
But, it has a
secondary effect that not many people are aware of.
The colonies of
Greenland, settled by the Vikings, were stricken by the plague and they soon
It is known that these colonies kept in contact with "Vinland",
which was near New Foundland, in Canada.
The Vikings had already
discovered North America!
But, alas, with these colonies all dead, Greenland
was forgotten, and not discovered again until 1585.2
It is estimated that the
plague took 24 million lives, about a quarter of the European population.
This may seem incredulous to people today, but it happened.
times, where there were humans, there were black rats.
And where there are
rats, there are fleas.
And where there were fleas, there was the plague.
Bubonic plague, and also pneumonic plague, were everywhere.
Russia, England, you name it.
When a village was infected, people fled,
most likely taking the plague with them to the next village.3
One can only
imagine what the people of that time thought.
In those days, the church was
the controlling influence.
So, they probably thought it was the wrath of god.
And with wraths of god, comes the need to search for scapegoats.
main scapegoats were the Jews.
They were accused of infecting town wells,
and spreading imaginary poisons from city to city.
For these "crimes," they
were burned, hung, stoned, etc.
Also, specific scapegoats were found and
killed in every city.
Mass hysteria gripped the known world.
Then, it slowed
It didn't stop, and it wouldn't for many years, but it slowed down
enough for society to get back on its feet.
And society now had a new
outlook on life.
The all-powerful Catholic Church still wielded some power,