The Black Plague that killed 50 million people in Europe began in Central Asia: the mystery of its origins has been solved

The Black Plague that killed 50 million people in Europe began in Central Asia: the mystery of its origins has been solved

The black plague that ravaged Europe, Asia and North Africa in the 14th century originated on the border between Kyrgyzstan and China, at the foot of the Tian Shan Mountains. This was discovered through research coordinated by the UK University of Stirling, the German University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, published in the journal Nature.

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Black Plague, the catastrophe of the fourteenth century

The Black Plague, the researchers write, “is one of the greatest infectious disease-related disasters in human history. It is estimated that over the course of its “eight years”, from 1346 to 1353, it caused the deaths of up to 60% of the western Eurasian population. The study may have solved the mystery of its origin: the researchers examined the human remains found in two archaeological sites Sites near Lake Issyk-Kul The inscriptions on the tombs date the deaths to 1338 and attribute them to a plague The team first confirmed through genetic analysis of the skeletal teeth that the cause of death was infection with Yersinia pestis.

The DNA of the bacterium

Full analysis of the bacterium’s DNA also suggested that the genome isolated in Kyrgyzstan provided the basis for a series of genetic branches that evolved as the bacterium spread to the rest of the world. “We found that the ancient stocks of Kyrgyzstan are positioned right at the node of this huge diversification event. In other words, we have found the root of the Death Star and we even know its exact date: the year 1338,” says the first signatory of the study, Maria Spyrou, from the University of Tübingen. Finally, the similarity of the bacterial genome found during the excavations with that still found today in the rodents of the area has confirmed that the great epidemic of the 14 man that took place precisely in this area. The University of Pisa was also involved in the study.