Bringer of Death: Explaining the Severity of the Black Death in Medieval England


  • Elvire Nadieh Landstra University College Utrecht



Plague, Black Death, England, Yersinia Pestis, protein deficiency, immunodeficiency


What caused the Black Death in the 14th century to be more severe than any other plague outbreak? This article argues that the Bovine Pestilence, and the consequent protein malnutrition, has contributed to an inadequate immune system for the English population. As a result, the mortality rates during the plague outbreak were high. By using contemporary insights on the Y. Pestis bacterium and immunodeficiencies, and combining that with historical data on the Black Death in the 14th century, this article uses an interdisciplinary approach to come to a broader understanding of the severity of the 14th century pandemic.

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