Humanities › Geography The Global Impacts of the Black Death The Global Pandemic of the Black Death Impacted Population Share Flipboard Email Print Getty Images / ZU_09 Geography Population Basics Physical Geography Political Geography Country Information Key Figures & Milestones Maps Urban Geography Table of Contents Expand Origins and Path of the Black Death Science of the Black Death Types and Symptoms of the Plague Death Toll Estimates of the Black Death Unexpected Economic Benefit of the Black Death Cultural and Social Beliefs and Changes of the Black Death Scourge Spread Across the World By Katherine Schulz Richard Updated January 17, 2020 The Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in human history. In the 14th century, at least 75 million people on three continents perished due to the painful, highly contagious disease. Originating from fleas on rodents in China, the “Great Pestilence” spread westward and spared few regions. In Europe’s cities, hundreds died daily and their bodies were usually thrown into mass graves. The plague devastated towns, rural communities, families, and religious institutions. Following centuries of a rise in population, the world’s population experienced a catastrophic reduction and would not be replenished for more than one hundred years. Origins and Path of the Black Death Science of the Black Death Types and Symptoms of the Plague Death Toll Estimates of the Black Death Unexpected Economic Benefit of the Black Death Cultural and Social Beliefs and Changes of the Black Death Scourge Spread Across the World The Black Death of the 14th century was a tremendous interrupter of worldwide population growth. The bubonic plague still exists, although it can now be treated with antibiotics. Fleas and their unknowing human carriers traveled across a hemisphere and infected one person after another. Survivors of this swift menace seized the opportunities that arose from altered social and economic structures. Although humanity will never know the exact death toll, researchers will continue to study the epidemiology and history of the plague to ensure that this horror never happens again.