Don’t be panic from COVID-19 Second Waves and Third Waves; there were a dozen pandemics that came and went; I have highlighted five major pandemics; you can read and be prepared yourself for the next waves.
Here is a list of Pandemics/epidemics that have largely remained obscure.
- Cyprian Plague:
The plague appears around 250 AD in Ethiopia and lasted for 20 years. In the following years, it spreads to Europe and Asia including, Rome, Greece, and Syria. This period was marked by constant warfare, drought, political instability, famine, etc., which became a recipe for disaster when coupled with the plague. As per some estimates, 5000 people died daily in Rome, and it was at this point, St Cyprian of Carthage famously remarked that it appeared that the world was going to end.
Cyprian documented the disease in immaculate detail and catalogued the symptoms, including high continuous fever, diarrhoea, deafness, paralysis, swollen throat, etc. Attempts were made to unearth what caused the disease through recounting historical accounts and analyzing the DNA of a recently exhumed corpse in Italy. However, the data has been insufficient and concluding what caused the disease is impossible, though some speculate it may have been a combination of meningitis and acute bacillary dysentery.
The plague had a devastating effect in southern Europe, particularly Rome, wherein soldiers died in thousands, farmers abandoned fields in droves, and the nobles perished like flees. So naturally, people seek solace in Religion in times of stress and disaster, thereby making proponents of faith powerful, and thus Christianity post the plague gained a stronghold in Europe.
2. Justinian Plague
Also known as the Bubonic Plague of the 6th century. While Justinian Plague was not as deadly as its 14th-century cousin(The Black Death), it nevertheless wreaked havoc and wiped out 10 per cent of the world population. Studies show the plague may have originated in India or China and reached Egypt around 540 AD via merchant routes. From Egypt, the plague spread to the Mediterranean region and most of Europe. As has been documented, the disease symptoms caused by the plague included fever, chills, gangrene, delusions, etc.
Some estimates concluded that as many as 10000 people died every day, while some believe the full extent of the death toll has been lost to history. In addition, the Byzantium Empire was devasted, agricultural production hit a record low, and future projects were stalled indefinitely. Historians attribute the gradual weakening and eventual fall of the Byzantium empire to the devastation caused by the disease.
3. Fijian Measles Epidemic
Fiji Is. came about in mid 19th century after decades of inter-tribal conflicts and warfare. It seemed the future was bright for the recently united conglomerate, with growth, prosperity, and peace now a palpable reality. But a certain episode of foreign travel was going to wreak devastation for the Island. In 1874, the Fijian Chief Cakobau persuaded the British to travel to New South Wales to meet the then-governor on an official visit. Cakobau obliged and travelled to Australia with an entourage. As fate would have it,
New South Wales had an outbreak of measles for some time, which eventually affected Cakobau and his entourage. The chief and his men were carefully nursed, and most of them returned home safely. Then, at the beginning of 1875, the Fijians mysteriously started dying of an unknown disease.
They attributed it to the British, who they blamed for sorcery and poisoning of Cakobau in Australia. While certain the British were up to no sorcery, they certainly did commit the fatal mistake of not quarantining Cakobau’s entourage. As a result, the death toll was massive and wiped out a third of the Fijian population. The epidemic was further aggravated by the Fijians, who refused British aid and medicines owing to the belief that the British had nefarious intentions and were bent on destroying the Island.
The incident is a stark reminder of the devastation caused by colonial mismanagement.
4. Cocoliztli epidemic
Truly an epidemic of huge proportions, it killed 15 million people living around Mexico and Central America in the mid 16th century.While “ Cocoliztli” in Aztec means pest, recent DNA studies attribute the epidemic to a family of viruses belonging to the group Salmonella. The virus caused multiple complications, including dehydration, gastrointestinal problems, high fever, etc. The Aztecs, at this point we’re already facing a severe drought, foreign invasions, and land alienation. The epidemic, coupled with the existing hardships that the Aztecs dealt with, nearly wiped out their population and ensured centuries of deprivation and exploitation.
5. A prehistoric Epidemic
Hamin Manga in China is a prehistoric burial site that indicates mass death due to an epidemic. Analysis of the site reveals skeletons of all age groups and burials carried out hastily. The bodies seemed to have been stuffed inside a house, and the house then being burnt down. This 5000-year-old site was never inhabited again. There is evidence of similar mass burials around the site and suggest that a brutal epidemic ravaged the entire region.
I hope you learnt from the history of major pandemics and be prepared and rich in the next pandemics, The article is originally published on Author’s Medium Profile, and there was a source file. Thank You for reading!