Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mongols and The Plague

The Mongol Empire existed during the 13th and 14th centuries and was the largest contiguous land empire in history.

Mitch Williamson recently posted an entertaining article about the Mongol Empire. The story sounded a bit fanciful, so I consulted Jack, my history expert. He didn't find anything to dispute in Mitch's story, but he did add this comment:
[The Mongol's] put together a very impressive commercial system. One of the things that got transported was the Bubonic Plague in the 1340s; the end of the Mongol Empire.
Oh. How lovely.
Spread of the Black Death in Europe (1346–53)

Notice that the area around Cracow (Krakow, Poland) doesn't get hit. Being as my paternal grandparents are from Poland, I wonder what the deal is. Wikipedia gives us a clue:
The plague was somewhat less common in parts of Europe that had smaller trade relations with their neighbours, including the Kingdom of Poland, the majority of the Basque Country, isolated parts of Belgium and the Netherlands, and isolated alpine villages throughout the continent.
A little farther on I find this:
One development as a result of the Black Death was the establishment of the idea of quarantine in Dubrovnik in 1377 after continuing outbreaks.
Which leads to: Dubrovnik ( Italian: Ragusa), Croatia, is a seaport on the Adriatic Sea, in the region of Dalmatia. It is a prominent tourist destination and a World Heritage Site.
The Republic of Ragusa received its own Statutes as early as 1272, statutes which, among other things, codified Roman practice and local customs. The Statutes included prescriptions for town planning and the regulation of quarantine (for sanitary reasons).
The Republic was an early adopter of what are now regarded as modern laws and institutions:
- 1301 a medical service was introduced,
- 1317 the first pharmacy was opened. It is still operating.
- 1347 an almshouse was opened,
- 1377 the first quarantine hospital (Lazarete) was established.
- 1418 slave trading was abolished,
- 1432 an orphanage was opened.
- 1438 a 12 mile long water supply system was constructed.
I do wonder how well quarantine would have worked when filth was still the order of the day.
The importance of hygiene was recognised only in the nineteenth century; until then it was common that the streets were filthy, with live animals of all sorts around and human parasites abounding. 

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