The Black Death: The Plague, 1331-1770


1331-34: Plague outbreak in Southwestern China spreads through Asia to the Mediterranean.

1345: Plague occurs in Volga River basin and spreads through Eastern and Central Europe eventually reaching Constantinople the main trade link between Europe and Asia.

1347: Black plague reaches Italy

Jan. 1348: Plague reaches Marseille, France

Nov. 1348: Plague reaches London

May 1349: Plague reaches Scotland, Wales and Ireland

1349: Scandinavia affected by the plague

1350: Uncharted Eastern Europe affected by plague

1382: Black plague returns to Europe, takes an especially heavy toll on Ireland

1466: Plague of Paris

1559: Amsterdam plague

1647: Great plague of Seville

1665: Great plague of London

1666: The Plague in England up until the Great Fire of London that kills the rats carrying the disease

1679: Plague in Central Europe, small outbreak in England

1710-11: Outbreak of plague in Sweden and Finland

1720: Plague in Marseilles

1722: Defoe publishes A journal of the Plague Year, a fictional account of the London 1665 outbreak

1770: Plague in the Balkans; lasts about 2 years

Note: While the plague spread through most of Western Europe, not all areas were uniformly devastated by the epidemic. Places with little trade were impacted far less than large ports.

©2017 John Martin Rare Book Room, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, 600 Newton Road, Iowa City, IA 52242-1098
Image: Pieter Bruegel, The Triumph of Death (detail), c. 1562, oil on panel, 117 x 162 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid


Acknowledgements to Alice M. Phillips for her work editing the original exhibit material and subsequent web design.