1399 - 1300Italy

Venice took the lead in measures to check the spread of plague, having appointed three guardians of public health in the first years of the Black Death. Sicily is the first part of Europe to be infected with bubonic plaque. The disease is there by October 1347. The international ports of Genoa and Venice see the symptoms in January 1348 and tens of thousands of people died.

As a result of the plague, the Mongol Empire collapsed, and trade along the Silk Road became expensive and risky. The Ottomans were not interested in trade with Europe, and didn’t let traders pass through their growing empire. Europeans began to look for another way to get stuff from China and India, and by the middle of the 1400s they had found it, when the Portuguese figured out how to sail from Europe around Africa to India.

Finally, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453 AD, they also conquered a lot of Venice’s land in the eastern Mediterranean, and began trying to conquer Venice itself. Although Venice stayed independent and not poor, it was never again as important as it had been in the Middle Ages.



Photo: http://badger.uvm.edu/omeka/files/fullsize/86525eedccb580a02fe6c328a13bea0a.jpg