Throughout history, epidemics have been responsible for hundreds of thousands of death. The reason why epidemics have caused so many deaths is that they are usually highly communicable diseases that reach large populations in a very short time.
Coronavirus re-emerges the fear of contagion and brings to mind the spectre of major pandemics that, at different times in human history, have caused thousands, if not millions, of victims. Often without being able to identify the cause, at least until the nineteenth century.
Below the 10 Of The Worst Pandemics Ever.
10. Plague of Justinian
This pandemic struck humanity between 541 and 542 AD. He is held responsible for the highest number of lives lost in an epidemic in history. Estimates believe that 100 million people died during this period which was half the world’s population! This plague was able to spread so quickly because it was carried on the shoulders of rodents, whose fleas were infected with bacteria. These mice travelled around the world to trade ships and helped spread the infection from China to North Africa and across the Mediterranean.
Plague of Justinian is attributed to having weakened the Byzantine empire in several ways. The military have lost power and are no longer able to defend themselves against intruders. Farmers fell ill and agricultural production decreased. With a smaller agricultural base, input taxes have decreased. Thousands of people died every day. An epidemic of this magnitude never occurred again although, in the 1300s, the world was facing another scourge.