Black Death

A History In Numbers


The Black Death remains the worst single epidemic in human history, killing millions, spreading fear and panic, and changing society for ever. Welcome to, where we collate the key facts and figures from this dark and gruesome period.

Woodcut depicting the Dance of Death
"No one was secure, whether rich or poor. Everyone, from day-to-day, waited on the will of the Lord. Gilles Li Muisis.

10 Facts About The Black Death

40-50% - the percentage of the population of Europe who died from the plague, as many as one in every two people.

More Black Death facts

3 - the number of different forms of the plague - bubonic, pneumonic, and septicaemic.

Symptoms of the Black Death

109 - the number of skeletal remains excavated from a London plague burial site that, in 2011, tested positive for evidence of the plague bacteria Yersinia pestis, confirming this to be the cause of the plague.

More about the causes

'Stinks' - the name given to the dead animals which some people placed in their homes to counteract 'poisonous air', considered by some to be the way by which plague spread.

More about the 'cures'

400 years - the estimated time it for population numbers to recover following the Black Death, only reaching pre-plague figures around the mid– to late 19th century.

More consequences

1555 - the year in which first known instance of the name Black Death is found. At the time of the epidemic it was known by other names.

Why was it called 'Black Death'?

November 1348 - the month in which pogroms began in Germany, with Jews being killed or ejected from their homes in great numbers, having been wrongly blamed for the mysterious deaths brought on by plague.

Who was blamed?

3 - the number of times each day that Flagellants would whip themselves until bloodied, in rituals intended to appease God and ward of the plague.

The Flagellant movement

AD 541 - the year in which the First Pandemic occurred (the Black Death being the Second Pandemic). Commonly referred to as the Plague of Justinian, it is estimated to have killed as many as 50,000,000 people worldwide.

More plague history

1894 - the year that the Third Pandemic emerged in China before spreading to the rest of the world, killing around 6,000,000.

More about the Third Pandemic

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About The Site

There is much coverage of the Black Death on the web, much of it excellent, some fanciful. aims to provide a quick and simple reference to some of the more significant facts and figures from the plague; we hope you find something of value here.

If you reference material from this site on another website or in any other published material please credit

Important Note

All of the facts and figures displayed on are correct to the best of our knowledge. However, the accuracy of the information presented herein cannot be guaranteed; therefore in using any of the facts or images from this website for other purposes you do so entirely at your own discretion.

If you spot an entry that you believe requires correction do please let us know - we do not wish to perpetuate inaccuracies. You can contact us at 'hello /at/ history in numbers /dot/ com'.