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Old April 22nd, 2012, 03:00 PM   #1
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Why did the Bubonic Plague miss Poland?


During the years 1348-1350 Europe experienced the Bubonic Plague, which killed 30%-60% of its population. It reached even the most isolated places such as Scnadinavia and northern Russia. One reagion however was almost entirely spared - the Kingdom of Poland. What was the reason for that? This region was not less urbanized or populated than most of Europe, and especially not Scandiavia or Russia. It was also linked to the rest of Europe via roads and trade, which flourished along the so-called "amber road". Krakow was a major trade center on that road and even had the largest medieval market square on the continent. The climate of the region was not different than most of Europe and the geography was nothing special too. So i personally can find no logical explanation to maps such as that below:

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Old April 22nd, 2012, 03:15 PM   #2
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It could just be that records from Poland during Plague is lost or it was not well-documented there.

Other reasons could be lower population count, distance between settlements which made infection rate slower etc..
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 04:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireatwill View Post
It could just be that records from Poland during Plague is lost or it was not well-documented there.

Other reasons could be lower population count, distance between settlements which made infection rate slower etc..
Those are all obvious things to think about but don't seem to apply - Poland had no way as low or scarce population as Scandinavia or Russia, nor were the settlements as far away. Regions with much lower and scarcer population, as well as more distant settlements were hit harder than Poland. On all those indicators Poland was the same or even better than regions such as the Balkans or Ukraine, yet they suffered and Poland didn't. Also, there are no reasons to think Poland had worse records and information accumulation than the rest of central Europe, and definitely better than the regions to the East. Modern historians can just as accurately claim Poland was not hit as hard by the Plague as they can say that the rest of Europe was. The mystery is that Poland was not unique in any way - population, settlements, trade, geography, climate, culture, traditions, economy etc. were all standard of its time and had equivalents in other states in Europe that were hard hit by the plague.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 06:35 AM   #4

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Bubonic plague
Quote:
DIFFERENT FATE OF EASTERN EUROPE
It is important to realize that most of these changes occurred in western and central Europe - not eastern Europe.
Eastern Europe did not suffer from the plague to the same extent.
MAP
Poland had hardly any cases of plague at all.
Partly because of its low population density; partly because of its lack of involvment in international trade.
Also wonder about some of their differences in superstitions that may have mitigated the plague in Poland also. (IE the killing of cats in Western Europe)
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 06:52 AM   #5
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How big was the actual population and population density in Poland that time? average size of villages, towns? what are the scholarly estimates in Poland?
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:36 AM   #6
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Poland closed its borders in time of epidemy. Ill people were not allow to get to country. We were surrounded by kind of sanitary cordon. Polish king knew how dangerous is the Black Death.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:48 AM   #7

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I doubt the above highly. Such a thing would have been impossible to enforce in the medieval era. It could only apply to walled towns and cities, and that wouldn't have made much difference seeing as the vast bulk of the populace would have been in rural communities.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:59 AM   #8
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Ill people coudn't get to towns. A gates were closed.
The ones who wanted to come to Poland were stoped on the border. It was a kind of quarantine. For few days people were observed by a guards and if they weren't ill they could enter to country but if they were ill they had to turn back.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 08:25 AM   #9

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the same way it would be isolated today
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 08:37 AM   #10

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Certain wise towns and city's did impose quarantines, and it seems Poland was a whole country of them. Many were to late, at least to save themselves but Poland was both clever and lucky.
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