Epidemics before Code 19 and their effects on the world

By: Sajjad Hussain Kalyar

Man, who has been struggling to survive on earth for thousands of centuries, has seen many doomsday scenes, faced all kinds of catastrophes and suffered sudden calamities.

Sometimes the river overflowed, sometimes the waves of the sea showed cruelty, sometimes the living cities were left buried by human storms. There were earthquakes, heavy rains, and people were piled up in the face of the harsh weather. Similarly, deadly diseases and epidemics also proved to be ‘killers’ of human beings.

Today, the world is facing the Corona epidemic, which has put millions of people to death, just as in the past epidemics such as plague, smallpox, and the Spanish flu in various regions and deadly diseases have killed millions, millions of people.

Just as we are witnessing a change in our society and way of life today due to the Corona epidemic, so too some epidemics of the past have led to significant changes around the world, where millions of lives have been lost.

Here we will talk about some of the deadly epidemics and the epidemics that changed the world map.

Deadly epidemics of the past
The Spanish flu struck in 1918, and by 1920 the deadly epidemic had killed 100 million people. The world was then reeling from the devastation of World War I, and the epidemic made life more difficult. A significant number of young people died from the Spanish flu.

An epidemic called “Asian flu” is “alive” in history, killing two million people. In 1957, the flu spread from China to the rest of the world, and within a year, 70,000 people died in the United States alone.

In 1915, a sleep epidemic broke out caused by a germ. By 1925, the plague had claimed the lives of about 1.5 million people. It was a form of meningitis in which the patient became severely drowsy.

Apart from cholera, measles, malaria, influenza, Hunta, Ebola, Congo virus, dengue also affected the world if we talk about various deadly bacterial diseases along with the epidemics, but there are some epidemics that changed the world map. ۔ These include the plague in Western Europe called the Black Death, the 1350 plague, the smallpox epidemic in the United States in the 15th century, the yellow fever in the African country of Haiti in 1801, and the plague in northern China in 1641. ۔

A look at the epidemics that are triggering major changes in the world

Justin plague
Let’s start with the plague of Justinian which dates back to 541 AD. Experts estimate that the plague killed 25 million people. Its duration is said to be two years, but during this period the deadly epidemic shook the Byzantine state and the Sassanid empires. The epidemic changed the course of the region’s history, and only a few decades later did the Arabs succeed in pushing back the region’s political powers.

The Antonin epidemic killed about 5 million people and, according to some experts, 10 million people. This plague terrified mankind from 165 to 180 AD. This was the time of the rise of the Roman Empire. During this time much of Europe was affected and the conditions of the people worsened, leading to chaos and anarchy. The famous sage Galenus went through the same period as he wrote about the disease.

Plague and Europe
This was in 1346, when an epidemic began to spread in the Mediterranean, France, and North Africa. Half of the population in the affected areas was wiped out. This bubonic plague brought European society, economy and politics to the worst crossroads. The epidemic broke out in Western Europe, and it shook the feudal system there.

Due to the constant deaths, landlords and elites faced the problem of shortage of servants and farmers. The majority of the workers died.

When the epidemic subsided, there was hunger and misery. Now the poor and working class wanted a fair wage and compensation. Assessing the needs of the princes, the workers had the courage to bargain with them and they demanded better compensation and wages. After the epidemic, Europe was divided into Western and Eastern Europe.

The peasants and workers of Western Europe came together and started a regular movement against it by refusing to pay various taxes and duties.

Farmers campaigned against fines and forced labor and spread to Western Europe. That was the time of the monarchy, and in 1381 the people refused to obey the royal decrees and pay more taxes. Thus there was a need for political and administrative changes. Then the conditions of the farmers also improved somewhat.

Eastern Europe, on the other hand, was also affected by the epidemic, but there was a different situation after the epidemic. There the feudal system became more stable for various reasons. However, this was also a big change.

Eastern and Western Europe became separate powers until 1600, and this was the result of post-epidemic conditions.

Colonial system and smallpox epidemic
The last years of the fifteenth century are remembered in history for the deaths from smallpox and climate change in the United States.

A scientific and research study by University College London in the UK found that the region’s population had shrunk to just five or six million in a hundred years as a result of Europe’s desire to expand. Most of these deaths were the result of the colonial system, as those who returned to their homelands after various campaigns brought with them epidemics and were unaware of it. The biggest killer was smallpox, which took root in the United States. Later, the universal effects of the epidemic became apparent.

These epidemics have led to a shortage of manpower and a deterioration in the balance of human populations, which has reduced agriculture and affected the environment. Temperatures also dropped in some parts of the country.

Scientists believe that with it came large volcanoes and an era known as the “Little Ice Age.” The worst affected were Europe, where crops were severely damaged and famine hit.

China’s epidemic that swept through the Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty ruled China for nearly three centuries, but the plague destroyed its power and influence in East Asia. In 1641, an epidemic in northern China wiped out twenty to forty percent of the population in some areas.

Before the plague, the drought and locusts had also set foot there, after which people there began to starve. The plague worsened the situation, and an invasion engulfed the three-century-old Ming dynasty.

Haitian yellow fever that blocked the way to the ‘colonies’
It is said that it was the epidemic that spread in Haiti that drove France out of North America and blocked the path of the colonial system, after which the United States expanded and its power increased rapidly.

This was in 1801, when Europe was focusing on the colonial system. A yellow fever epidemic broke out in Haiti, killing about 50,000 soldiers, administrative officers, physicians and sailors. An uprising broke out there, and only 3,000 French men survived.

This African plague forced Napoleon to abandon his colonial ambitions. He said that the yellow fever saved not only Haiti but also North America from becoming a French colony.

Animal disease and new colonies
It was not an epidemic but a virus that spread from 1888 to 1897 in animals called render paste virus. It is also called the plague of cattle. The virus killed 90% of the livestock in Africa, causing starvation and misery, and spreading chaos and mismanagement. Unlike the yellow fever, the plague allowed Europe to establish new colonies.

Powerful European countries took advantage of the chaos and misery in Africa at the end of the 19th century. Fourteen European countries, including France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and Italy, later asserted their sovereignty over several African regions and mapped them, and by 1900, they controlled 90% of the continent.

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