Thread: World History
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Old Tuesday, June 26, 2007
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Pestilence

Pestilence is contagious disease that spreads out of control, killing many people. Here are examples of some of the worst epidemics around the world.



AIDS

Where: Worldwide
When: Late 1970s-present
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a disease that destroys the body's immune system, its ability to fight sickness. This virus may have developed as long as 50 to 150 years ago, but it was not identified until 1981. The virus may take years to produce symptoms in an infected human being. The United Nations and the World Health Organization reported that a total of 20 million people had died from AIDS as of Dec. 2003.


Black Death

Where: Western Europe
When: 1347-51
This plague, thought to be the Bubonic plague, spread throughout Europe, killing about half the continent's population. It was called the Black Death because of the black blotches that appeared on the victims' bodies. This plague was carried by infected fleas on black rats.

Influenza

Where: Worldwide
When: 1918-19
This flu was a highly contagious virus that killed 20 million people throughout the world. Without effective medication to treat the illness, most people died of complications from the disease, like pneumonia. This pestilence, along with the Black Death, resulted in the highest number of deaths worldwide in history.


Volcanic Eruptions

A volcanic eruption occurs when molten rock, ash and steam pour through a vent in the earth's crust.

Volcanoes are described as active (in eruption), dormant (not erupting at the present time), or extinct (having ceased eruption; no longer active). Some volcanoes explode. Others are slow-flowing fountains of lava, which is hot fluid rock.

The following are examples of famous volcanic eruptions.

Where: Italy
When: A.D. 79
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum under 20 feet of ash and lava, killing an estimated 20,000 people. The ash that buried the town and the people also preserved them. The work of uncovering the ancient cities began in 1748 and continues to this day.

Where: Indonesia
When: 1883
The greatest explosion in modern times occurred when Krakatoa erupted. The power of the explosion was thought to be 26 times the power of the greatest H bomb, and the roar was heard over one-thirteenth of the surface of the earth. The eruption wiped out 163 villages, killing 36,380 people.
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