541 A.D.: The Justinian Plague

541 A.D.: The Justinian Plague

It first appeared in Egypt, then spread to Palestine and the Byzantine Empire, and then throughout the Mediterranean.
The plague changed the course of the empire, forcefully changing Emperor Justinian's plans to bring the Roman Empire back together causing a massive economic struggle and creating an apocalyptic atmosphere that encouraged the rapid spread of Christianity.
Recurrences over the next two centuries eventually killed about 50 million people, 26 percent of the world population.

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