How the Black Death Started in Asia - Deepstash
The Black Death

This is a medieval pandemic (most likely, the bubonic plague) and is associated with Europe because it killed an estimated one-third of the European population in the 14th century.
However, the Bubonic Plague actually started in Asia and devastated many areas of that continent as well. Unfortunately, the course of the pandemic in Asia is not as thoroughly documented as it is for Europe.

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Many scholars believe that the bubonic plague began in northwestern China, while others cite southwestern China or the steppes of Central Asia.
We do know that in 1331 an outbreak erupted in the Yuan Empire and may have hastened the end of Mongol rule over China. Three years later, the disease killed over 90 percent of the Hebei Province's population with deaths totaling over 5 million people.

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From its origin at the eastern end of the Silk Road, the Black Death rode trade routes west stopping at Central Asian caravansaries and Middle Eastern trade centers and subsequently infected people all across Asia.

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  • In 1855, the so-called "Third Pandemic" of bubonic plague broke out in Yunnan Province, China.
  • Another outbreak happened in China in 1910. It went on to kill more than 10 million, many of them in Manchuria.
  • A similar outbreak in British India left about 300,000 dead from 1896 through 1898. This outbreak began in Bombay (Mumbai) and Pune, on the country's west coast.

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Legacy of the Plague in Asia

The Black Death contributed to the fall of the mighty Mongol Empire.
The massive population loss and terror caused by the plague destabilized Mongolian governments from the Golden Horde in Russia to the Yuan Dynasty in China.

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