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Mongols and the Black Death

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 10 months ago

Mongols and the Black Death


It is probable that the Mongols and merchant caravans inadvertently brought the plague from central Asia to the Middle East and Europe. The plague was reported in the trading cities of Constantinople and Trebizond in 1347. In that same year, the Genoese possession of Caffa, a great trade emporium on the Crimean peninsula, came under siege by an army of Mongol warriors under the command of Janibeg, backed by Venetian forces. After a protracted siege during which the Mongol army was reportedly withering from the disease, they might have decided to use the infected corpses as a biological weapon. The corpses were catapulted over the city walls, infecting the inhabitants.3 The Genoese traders fled, transferring the plague via their ships into the south of Europe, from whence it rapidly spread. According to accounts, so many died in Caffa that the survivors had little time to bury them and bodies were stacked like cords of firewood against the city walls.

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