the place where the black plague began

A few years ago, while exploring the vicinity of Lake Issyk-Kul in present-day Kyrgyzstan, Johannes Krause and Philip Slavin noticed that the cemetery was filled with a disproportionate number of people who died between 1338 and 1339. Something happened in the Chu Valley, it was clear; but their surprise was even greater when they found the word “plague” on some of the tombstones. Have they just discovered the origins of the greatest plague in European history?


can not be. It was obvious it couldn’t be. The first documented case of the “black plague” dates back to 1346 from Kafa on the Crimean peninsula, while it was besieged by the Mongol army. They were the first to be affected. From there, between 1347 and 1351, the disease killed about 70 million people worldwide. We are talking about a world very different from this: a world in which the most densely populated countries, areas such as France or Italy, have barely added 16 million.

There were cities, counties and regions that lost up to 80% of their population. The economic, demographic and cultural impact has been so enormous that even today it is hard to imagine. Is it possible that he appeared in Kyrgyzstan ten years earlier?

The spread of the Black Death year after year.

One of the great mysteries in the history of medicine. For centuries, scientists have searched historical records, trying to discover the origins of the disease without success. In fact, the question was still open. In recent decades, researchers have exploited the full potential of ancient DNA and modern genomics, but the geographical origins of the Black Death remain uncertain.

It all started here? Encountering a cemetery in the area, Krause and Slavin set to work. The team translated and analyzed the few surviving archival data and combined it with DNA analysis of seven people buried at the site.

The results seem clear: Yersinia pestis, the plague bacterium, was in three of the DNA samples and the analysis suggests that it played a role in the epidemic event that devastated the population in the area. In fact, according to the authors, when analyzing the genomes of Y. pestis They found that everything seemed to indicate that it was the common ancestor of all other strains discovered over the centuries.

The Black Death passed through Europe.  For those who survived, it was a financial benefit.

How did you get to the rest of the world?. In addition, based on data and historical remains (such as inscriptions on tombstones or coins stored in treasures), the authors believe that until then the region was quite well connected commercially with the rest of Eurasia. In fact, the colossal impact of the epidemic seems to have caused the region to fall into a huge crisis and to be “excluded” from the rest of the continent. This would explain not only the spread of the disease, but also why until recently no one looked there.

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