Empire in early fourteenth century a probably

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Empire in early fourteenth century a. probably originated in Central Asia b. carried by rodents and transmitted by fleas 2. the plague broke out in northeastern China in 1331 a. reached Western Europe by 1347b. Mongol siege of Caffa (in the Crimea) in 1346: Mongols catapulted plague-c. massive death tolli. estimates are that one-third to two-thirds of European population diedd. periodic returns of the plague for centuries infected corpses into city 3. India and sub-Saharan Africa were much less affected 4. best information about the plague’s impact comes from Europe a. the plague was described in apocalyptic terms b. Jews blamed for the plague; many fled to Poland c. longer-term changes in European society i. led to conflict between scarce workers and the rich ii. undermined practice of serfdom iii. perhaps encouraged technological innovation iv. created more employment opportunities for women 5. the plague was a primary reason for the breakdown of the Mongol Empire in fourteenth–fifteenth centuries 6. disruption of land routes to the east encouraged Europeans to seek trade routes by sea who were economically less developed and forcibly plundered wealthier civilizations VI. Reflections: Changing Images of Nomadic Peoples A. Nomads have often received “bad press” in history books. 1. only mentioned in regard to their destruction of established civilizations 2. educated sedentary peoples have feared and usually despised nomads 3. nomads were usually illiterate, so we don’t have their perspective 4. agricultural societies eventually won out B. There have been recent efforts to present a more balanced view. 1. emphasize what nomads achieved as well as what they destroyed 2. the total wars and genocides of the twentieth century have made people less judgmental toward the Mongols 3. historians are shaped by their times

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