Death Ships: Everything About The Ships That Brought The Plague To Europe

By Karen Harris
The Plague in Marseille, 1726, engraving.

Pandemics don't just appear out of thin air. That's why social distancing is so important: The further we stay away from other people, the lower the chance we have of coming into contact with deadly germs. This is doubly true during a pandemic and doubly-doubly true in the Middle Ages. After all, these days, with the Amazons and the Instacarts, avoiding other people is fairly easy. Way back when, however, if the merchant ships didn't get all up in your harbor, you weren't eating (at least, not as well). Unfortunately, they also sometimes killed you. Such was the case of the merchant ships who brought the bubonic plague to Europe, A.K.A. the Death Ships of the Great Plague.

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