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Black Death was an outbreak of bubonic plague that struck Europe and the Mediterranean area from 1347 through 1351 It was the first of European plague epidemics that continued until the early 18th century The plague had been preceded by ancient plagues between the 6th and 8th centuries AD they were followed by other cycle but less deadly plagues that began in the late 19th century and continue in the 20th century The term Black Death was not used to refer to the plagues of 1347 through 1351 until much later They usually referred to it as the Pestilence or the Great Mortality Scientists and historians are still not sure about the origins of the plague Mediev- al European writers believed that it began in China People wrote that it began with earthquakes fire falling from the sky and plagues of vermin These statements are based on a number of myths about life in areas outside of Europe Scientists and historians now think its probable that infected rodents migrated from the Middle East into southern Russia Plague was then spread west along the trade routes The plague was then passed from them to the colonies of Italians living in towns along the Black Sea Merchants probably carried the disease from there to Egypt in 1347 It then moved to Damascus and Libya in 1348 The plague moved quickly along the major trace routes From Pisa it traveled to Florence and then on to Rome and Bologna From Venice it moved into southern Germany and Austria Then from Genoa it crossed the Tyrhennian Sea to Barcelona in Spain and Marseille in France It continued through the towns of southern France reaching Paris by early June 1348 From there the plague spread to England by late June 1348 and the low countries by the summer of 1349 Doctors and theologians agree that the plague had both religious and physical causes The first and most important
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