The Black Plague’s Origin Place Finally Discovered

The Black Plague's Origin Place Finally Discovered

Researchers FINALLY Discover Origin Of One Of History’s Worst Plagues

( – The Black Plague devastated multiple continents in the mid-1300s, but throughout the centuries, the bacterial illness has caused several wakes of destruction across many parts of the world. There’s a reason the infection ended up with a nickname like the “Black Death.” For centuries scientists attempted to pinpoint the origin point. Now, researchers believe they’ve finally discovered where it all started.

A Modern-Day Headline

While the idea of “a deadly plague with mysterious origins” may seem like a normal headline for 2022, this mystery has gone unsolved for nearly seven centuries. Details surrounding the “Black Death” largely revolve around the number of people who died and the areas it impacted the most — but one of the most infamous diseases known to man doesn’t have an origin story. At least it didn’t until scientists made a groundbreaking discovery.

Solving the Mystery

Philip Slavin, a University of Stirling economic and environmental historian, co-led the study, which Nature published. The historian asserted that he and his team of researchers were able to put all the controversies and theories about the source of the Black Death to bed, placing the origin point of the Plague in Kyrgyzstan. The mystery only took 675 years to solve.

The researchers noted they used DNA from an ancient burial site in what is now modern-day Kyrgyzstan. Slavin mentioned what led them to that burial site was a work from 1890 that described the spot. The “report” detailed a spike in deaths between 1338 and 1339. Slavin noted that increases in deaths like that one usually indicated something had gone wrong. The work also noted a number of headstones claiming the people had died from “pestilence.”

The Black Death didn’t reportedly start until seven or eight years after the Kyrgyzstan event. After examining the DNA from teeth of the deceased, the group discovered traces of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria behind the plague. Experts believe there was sort of a “big bang” in which strains of the plague suddenly developed variants, though they believe this one occurred around the 10th century. After tediously reconstructing the Y. pestis genome, the researchers discovered this strain predated the “big bang” event.

Rodents in the same region also reportedly carried the same strain, leading scientists to conclude that Y. pestis underwent its diversification shortly before the emergence of the Black Death, and the area in Northern Kyrgyzstan was likely ground zero. The Plague was responsible for wiping out an estimated 60% of the population in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East in the years between 1346 and 1353 and served as the first wave of what would become a 500-year pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted the Black Death didn’t hit American shores until 1900, when steamships carrying infected rodents landed. The last time the disease seriously impacted the United States was when a small outbreak occurred between 1924 and 1925 in Los Angeles, California.

The World Health Organization reported there were 3248 known infections in the five years between 2010 and 2015, leading to 584 deaths — a long stretch from when it first emerged. Now that scientists know where the Plague may have started, they might be able to pinpoint the mutation that caused it to take such a deadly turn.

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