The Black Death

Events

First Strike

1346

Autumn 1346. An outbreak of plague killed large numbers of Mongol troops that were besieging the port of Kaffa. The leader of the troops, Kipchak Khan catapulted dead bodies over the city walls.

Release of Plague Bacillus

1346

1436 Spring. Earthquake in central Asia released the plague bacillus. The area was under the control of the Mongol Khanate.

Reaches Venus and Genoa

1347

1347 November. The plague reached Venice and Genoa.

The Escape Through Sea

1347

1347 Spring. The people of Kaffa boarded ships to escape the plague taking the disease with them.

Reaches Turkey

1347

1347 May. Plague reached Constantinople, Turkey.

Reaches Sicilly and further East

1347

1347 October. The plague reached the port of Messina, Sicily. It had been carried from the East by trading ships. Boccaccio described the symptoms “The first signs of the plague were lumps in the groin or armpits. After this, livid black spots appeared on the arms and thighs and other parts of the body. Almost all died within three days”. The plague became known as The Black Death.

Reaches Spain

1348

1348 April. The plague reached the Spanish port of Coruna, probably carried on a ship from Bordeaux.

French port Marseilles

1348

1348 March. Reaches French port, Marseilles