#TodayInHistory – December 5
December 5 – Some important events on this day.
771 👉🏼 Charlemagne becomes the sole King of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman
1349 👉🏼 500 Jews of Nuremberg massacred during Black Death riots.
The Black Death was the single worst pandemic in the history of the world. Peaking between 1347 and 1351 in Europe, estimates of the death toll vary widely, but is generally believed to have killed between 50 to 125 million people. The Black Death was essentially the spread of the disease known as plague (which is sometimes used to refer to the pandemic itself), caused by the Yersinia pestitis bacterium which was carried by the fleas on black rats.
The infection is believed to have originated in China or Inner Asia. Carried along the Silk Road trading route, it destroyed the army of the Mongol ruler Jani Beg, who was besieging the Genoese town of Kaffa in the Crimea. Attempting to weaken the defenders, he flung infected corpses at the Genoese inside the city. Infected sailors went back to their hometown in Genoa, Italy, thus beginning the European outbreak.
The bubonic plague (a distinct form of plague) would cause large swollen spots under the armpits and on the legs, neck and groin; this was followed by vomiting of blood and acute fever. Bubonic plague had a fatality rate of around 80%.
The Black Death had a vast effect on European society. Jewish people were persecuted relentlessly by many during the outbreak, as rumors spread that Jews had deliberately poisoned wells combined with a deep reservoir of medieval antisemitism. On February 14, 1349, several hundred Jews were burned to death in the city of Strasbourg.
Since around half of Europe’s population was wiped out in an exceptionally short period of time, labor suddenly became extremely scarce, and wages for peasants much higher. Tensions around this would be one of the causes of the Peasants’ Revolt in England in 1381.
Recurrences of the plague happened throughout the centuries. Europe’s population did not recover to pre-Black Death levels for 200 years; some places that were extremely hard hit, like Florence, took until the 19th century to recover.
1456 👉🏼 Earthquake strikes Naples; about 35,000 die
1717 👉🏼 English pirate Blackbeard ransacks the merchant sloop “Margaret” and keeps her captain, Henry Bostock prisoner for 8 hours before releasing him. Bostock later provides 1st record of Blackbeard’s appearance, and the source for his name
1848 👉🏼 US President James K. Polk triggers Gold Rush of 1849 by confirming a gold discovery in California
1872 👉🏼 The Mary Celeste, a ship whose crew mysteriously disappeared, is spotted at sea
1933 👉🏼 Prohibition ends in the US when 21st Amendment to the US Constitution ratified, 18th Amendment repealed (5:32 PM EST)
1945 👉🏼 Flight 19 the “Lost Squadron” of 5 torpedo bombers and 14 airmen is lost east of Florida in the supposed Bermuda Triangle
1969 👉🏼 Four-node ARPANET network is established
2013 👉🏼 South African president Nelson Mandela dies at 95
2017 👉🏼 Russia is banned from the next Winter Olympics in South Korea over state-sponsored doping
2019 👉🏼 National strike in France; more than 800,000 people in 100 cities protest against proposed pension reform