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The Great 1720 Plague in Marseille


 Confrontation between the "Great 1720 Plague of Marseille" and other Plague Epidemics

This communication intends to bring confrontation between the "Great 1720 Plague of Marseille" and the other plague epidemics observed at the same period.

Venice, with the 1630-1631 outbreak of Morte Nera, was severely hit, with 46000 recorded casualties on a population of 140000. The Senate decided in October 1630, the construction, on the Grand Canal, of a splendid basilica dedicated to Salvation, the "Salute", Several archeological campaigns have been led at the Lazzaretto Vecchio where most victims were buried.

London was ravaged by the "Black death" during the 1665-1666 epidemic. The outbreak was so dramatic that Londoners flew away in panic and, even, King Charles II had to leave, bringing with him his family. Over 70000 people perished in and around London.

The 1770 the Black plague of Moscow arrived in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War.

At first, everything was done to hide the truth : the bodies were buried secretly every night but after few weeks, the Authorities had to face the truth and a quarantine was decided, followed by famine and a huge riot savagely repressed by the Army under the command of Count Orlov, favorite of Catherine the Great.

Retrospective analysis of the plague epidemics In Europe, brings to light some main factors : over expanding international trade, spring and summer recurrence of outbreaks, role of murine infestation in harbor depots of textile.

 In confrontation with other plague epidemics of that time, The Great Plague of Marseille has some distinctive features, mainly the construction of a "Plague wall" circling Marseille 20 miles around.

Plague is a never ending disease : the last case observed in France dates back to 1945 but a major outbreak was observed only few years ago in Congo. It should also be reminded that plague, unfortunately, has taken place in modern times among biological war weapons

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Date de dernière mise à jour : 29/07/2013

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