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The Black Death that occurred in English society and killed approximately 1.5 million people is one of the worst epidemics in the world’s history. It came at a time when there was limited medical knowledge to stop the spread of the pandemic; thus its full effect was witnessed in the region. Also, the medics were not prepared to deal with its impacts on people, particularly the low class. It had several impacts on the region and changed people’s civilization. In this analytical essay, the three major legacies of the Black Death discussed include low productivity due to the massive loss of manpower, increased segregation, and the extension of medical knowledge. These legacies had long-term consequences for English society and other parts of the world.
Low Productivity due to the Loss of Manpower
The English people relied on farming to produce food for the local and regional markets. Many workers who were employed on those farms constituted a low class in the society who did not have adequate access to medical attention. When the pandemic hit, this class of people was grossly affected and could not go to work on the farm. This means that the overall productivity was affected as the death toll increased. Agricultural productivity and products also reduced significantly leading to food shortages in the region. Also, food prices went up due to low productivity shooting the cost of living in the country and the entire region. Since many people succumbed to the pandemic, only those who survived had the idea about what they came through.
Some people were directly affected as they lost close relatives because of the pandemic. During this period, they could not actively engage in farming. In this regard, a legacy was that the Black Death leads to the mechanization of agriculture; large-scale farmers started using machines for tilling the land. At that time, mechanization was rather expensive compared to the use of human labor (slaves). The long-term effect of this legacy was that even when the pandemic was over, the large-scale farmers improved on the mechanization of agriculture in addition to the human labor that was available. With mechanization, large tracks of land were put under cultivation to increase the quantity of food for the population.
Also, there were social effects, which included the segregation of people according to place, sex, and age. Those who were affected by the disease were separated from the rest and given little medical attention (Boccaccio 1). This segregation increased racial and class discrimination in English society in terms of getting adequate medical care. For instance, the people of the lower social structure suffered a greater impact of the plague than the lords. Also, the English people were favored more than the slaves who came from other races such as the Indians and even the blacks.
The impacts of that segregation and subsequent discrimination are felt up to the present day not only in the English society but also in the other parts of Europe and the world as well. It created prejudice in the way different groups of people perceived one another and the kind of attention that each category received. Massive death and increased discrimination also had a far-reaching impact on the future of Europe. Those from the lower social class could not get attention compared to their masters, a situation that has persisted for many years.
The Pandemic Led to the Extention of the Medical Knowledge (Medical Revolution)
During the pandemic, the English people did not have solid medical knowledge that could guarantee the sick people adequate and equitable access to medical care. Most of the available options were tried, but all without the much-anticipated success. Therefore, the people did all they could to survive. Basically, all these were individual efforts, without much input from the masters; this is the reason why many farmworkers died from the pandemic. Absolutely, it was perceived as a disaster because the doctors of the day could not find an immediate and reliable solution to the problem. As a result, the pandemic led to the extension of medical knowledge as a legacy including the right to adequate and equitable access to medical care.
The medical revolution (increased medical knowledge and research) made it possible for various health practitioners to find cures for different kinds of diseases. The medicine men improved on research to contain the scourge and offer a permanent solution to the problem. Although adequate medical intervention took a longer time, it had a long-term impact on finding alternative cures to the disease and other infections. This legacy also increased medical research that has been used in developing vaccines for diseases meaning that it has led to the improvement of living conditions in English society.
In summary, the pandemic was disastrous. Literature still conveys the memories of those who witnessed those events. The Black Death significantly lowered productivity due to the many deaths that occurred in the affected area. Similarly, those who were not affected dissociated with the sick thus increased segregation among the people. Finally, the pandemic led to the rise in medical knowledge, which made possible the discovery of treatments for various ailments. If the pandemic was to happen today, it would change the people’s civilization and interaction with one another. It would also increase research to find the immediate medical intervention to prevent the spread of the disease.
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