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Great Plague


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(1664–65)

A disastrous epidemic, mainly confined to London and south-east England. Bubonic plague had recurred at intervals since the Middle Ages, but there had been no serious outbreak for thirty years and its violent reappearance was not expected. About a fifth of London's population of almost half a million died. Business in the city came to a standstill. The court and all those able to move into the countryside prudently did so, as the disease was less virulent there. At the height of the epidemic plague pits were dug to receive the dead, and hand-carts were taken from house to house, collecting the bodies. The Fire of London in the following year destroyed many of the close-packed slums in which the plague flourished, and after 1665 the disease disappeared from London.

Subjects: World History.


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