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Black Death Inquiry Project~~Elizabeth

Three questions about the BD

Elizabeth Hu

on 2 December 2012

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Transcript of Black Death Inquiry Project~~Elizabeth

The Black Death
Inquiry Project By Elizabeth Hu How did the Black Death start? Question 1 How did the Black Death start?
Since the disease originated from China, a highly populated country, there must have been lots of rats and rodents. I think that the high number of rats and rodents in the area might have been a factor in the rise of the Plague. Other bacteria might have evolved into a new species due to the good conditions for disease spreading. Hypothesis How did the Black Death start?
Research suggests that the Yersinia Pestis evolved in China, possibly a genetic evolution that appeared because of the highly populated rodent populations, as the Yersinia Pestis’s natural host are rodents. Marmots and rats were plenty in the area dues to the highly populated area, and existing diseases could have developed into more serious ones such as the bubonic disease. Research has shown that Yersinia Pestis possibly have evolved and originated in rodent populations from its relative Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. The two bacteria are extremely similar and it is almost referred as to its “clone”. Research How did the Black Death start?
The Black Death was caused by Yersinia Pestis, a bacteria extremely closely related to it’s root ancestor, a bacteria extremely closely related to its root ancestor, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. The Black Death was thought of originated from China, as an evolved specie of Yersina pseudotuberculosis. Due to the abundance or vermin and rodents in the highly populated areas, the high population of rodents gave the new Yersinia bacteria a way to kill. Revised Hypothesis Question 2 Which cures actually worked
and how were they formed? Which cures actually worked and how were they formed?
I think the cures that would have worked, or at least helped, were not the ones according to religion, as science has already proven that it was not God that brought the disease. I think that they were the herbal and plant-based medicine that would have worked, as many cultures to this day still use herbal and plant-based medicine such as societies in Asia and Africa. I think that the cures would have also been based on common sense. Hypothesis Which cures actually helped and how were they formed?
Even though most medieval cures where completely absurd, some actually worked, such as these:

Changing your diet- “We should not eat food that goes off easily and smells badly such as meat, cheese and fish. Instead we should eat bread, fruit and vegetables”

~This probably would have at least prevented more deaths because meat, cheese, and fish goes off easily, and it is easy for the bacteria Yersinia pestis to accumulate on the food. Research Sanitation- “The streets should be cleaned of all human and animal waste. It should be taken by a cart to a field outside of the village and burnt. All bodies should be buried in deep pits outside of the village and their clothes should also be burnt.”

~This cure may also have worked because there is less chance of bacteria festering on the dead bodies and wastes. Since bacteria likes warm and moist places, the fire would have killed the bacteria on the dead Research cont. How were they formed?
Sometimes, the cures that might have helped were stumbled upon by sheer luck. Others, such as the sanitation procedures, were probably formed by common sense. I mean, I think leaving human wastes and dead bodies around probably wouldn’t have made anything better. Cures based on religious reasons may also have worked, such as the Bible said not to eat pork. Rotting meat was easy for bacteria to fester on. Research Cont. Which cures actually worked and how were they formed?
In Medieval Europe, the people had little or no medical knowledge. Most of their cures for the Black Death did not work. The ones which could have worked would be the ones based on common sense, such as the sanitation and eating certain types of food. Revised Hypothesis Question 3 Did different food and diet
would have affected
who caught the disease? Did different food and diet would have affected who caught the disease?
Around the time when the Plague struck, societies were usually arranged in the social order of richest to poorest. The diet of those people would have been different, as the rich could afford more luxurious food than the poor. The food they would have eaten would have been different. Different food contains different nutrients, and some of them might boost one’s immunity. Hypothesis Did different food and diet would have affected who caught the disease?
Some foods are known as super food. Research has shown that there are certain types of food that can strengthen and boost your immune system. Since the Black Death was caused by bacterial infections, it’s up to your immune system to fight them off. Some examples of these food include: Research ~Food that contains vitamin C

~Food that contains vitamin E

~Food that contains zinc

~Herbs such as garlic

~Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids Research Cont. In Medieval Europe, the diet of the people depended on your social order. Whilst the rich could afford more complex food, the poor only ate simple and basic food.

The rich’s diet included:
~Meat (beef, pork, poultry)’
~Fish (if they were close to water)
~Food made from whole grain
~Dairy products Research Cont. The poor’s diet included:

~Bread made from rye and barley


~Pottage made of vegetables such as nuts, spinach, berries, etc. Research Cont. Judging by their diets, the rich had more of a chance of surviving the Black Death than the poor. The rich had nutrients such as omega oil (found in fish), grainy food, dairy products, whilst the poor had fibrous food, which was good for the heart, but it doesn’t help their immune system. We can back this theory up by sources such as this: Research Cont. But again, this is debatable, as the poor had little or no personal hygiene at all, as they could afford little wood for heating up water for washing.
  Research Cont. Did different food and diet would have affected who caught the disease?
Research has shown that there are foods that can boost a person’s immune system. During the Black Death, the societies were ordered by social classes. The poor ate simple, and food lacking of important nutrients such as protein. The rich ate food with nutrients such as Omega3 oil, food made from whole grain, and dairy products which contained good bacteria. These food all help strengthen the immune system. The rich had a higher chance of surviving or preventing the Black Death than the poor. Revised Hypothesis Thanks for Watching! The yellow areas show the development and evolution pathways made in China from the root bacteria:
Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Bibliography I acknowledge these sources below for information obtained for this assignment:

Alchin L. (2012), ‘Middle Ages food-Fruit’ , (Internet), http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/middle-ages-food-fruit.htm accessed on 20/11/2012

Kershaw A. (2012), 'Bacteria evolution', asked on the 30/11/2012

McNiff M. (2012), ‘4 Superfood Whole Grains to Boost Your Metabolism & Energy’, (Internet), http://www.organicauthority.com/health/4-superfood-whole-grains-to-boost-your-metabolism-a-energy.html accessed on 29/11/2012

‘Medieval Food’(2001), (Internet), http://www.medieval-life.net/food.htm accessed on the 21/11/2012, 28/11/2012

Morelli G. and others (2010), ‘Phylogenetic diversity and historical patterns of pandemic spread of Yersinia pestis’ (Internet), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2999892/ accessed on the 20/11/2012, 27/11/2012

Sears W. and others, ‘8 foods that boost immunity’, (Internet), http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/family-nutrition/foods-boost-immunity/8-foods-boost-immunity accessed on 2/12/2012

Truman C. (2000-2012), ‘Cures for the Black Death’; (Internet) http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/cures_for_the_black_death.htm accessed on 27/11/2012

Wade N. (2010), ‘Europe’s Plagues came from China, study finds’, (Internet), http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/health/01plague.html?_r=1&hp accessed on the 20/11/2012

Yapp N. and others (2000), Life in the age of chivalry: The Black Death, Readers Digest, London.

Mr. Rat
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