How Did the Black Plague Spread

The Black Death also known as the ‘Black Plague’ was a widespread pandemic that hit nearly all of Europe in the 14th century, taking a huge toll.

A major portion of the populations of all affected countries was devastated, many cities became depopulated and the pandemic cast a lasting impact on the overall outlook of the society in different countries.


The pandemic was first reported in Europe in 1346 and it continued to ravage until 1353.

As you can imagine the stench of all the dead and diseased bodies must have been pretty grim, not only this but medieval people believed that the disease was also spread through bathing, so many people shunned bathing in fear of catching the disease.

Funnily it was during this period that many perfumes were created including Eau du Cologne! 

Medieval Bathing

Medieval Bathing Spread of the Black Plague or Black Death

Towns and Cities

Towns and cities with large population were badly hit as the Disease could be easily and quickly transmitted as people were living so close to each other, large populations living in packed cramped conditions helped the Black Death sweep through busy towns and cities.

The cities were particularly affected by the plague because of the lack of hygienic conditions and congested overpopulation of the living quarters for most of the population.

Genoese trading ships

It is believed the Black Death arrived in Europe through Genoese trading ships which landed in Sicily in October 1347. Some sailors aboard the ship were dead while others were seriously ill.

The plague spread through Sicily to the rest of the Europe in the course of many years.

Spread of the Black Plague

Spread of the Black Plague by Genoese Trading Ships


Jews were frequently accused in different parts of Europe to be cause of the plague. They were accused of spreading it intentionally, although Jews were victims of it as well. In the city of Strasbourg, 2000 Jews were killed. COPIED


The actual cause of Black Death’s spread, as researched in modern times, has been found to be a particular variety of flea carrying the virus responsible for the plague. When these fleas bit any victim, the plague is transmitted to the victim as well.

Spread of the Black Plague by Fleas

When these fleas bit any victim, the plague is transmitted to the victim as well.