Image: The Black Plague killed half of Europe’s population. In Kutna Hora in Czech Republic, the skulls of plague victims were fashioned into a chapel. (Martin Moos/ Getty)
Bodies were piled into mass graves—sometimes five bodies high. Towns were destroyed, families wiped out. As the Black Plague marched through Europe in the 14th century, it decimated half of the continent’s population.
Few were spared from loss.
Six hundred years later, the pestilence reared its head again. This time it killed around 10 million people in the late 19th century.
It was in this zenith that the murderer was uncovered.
In 1894, Swiss doctor Alexandre Yersin identified that the bacteria, Yersinia pestis, were the destructive beasts.
While stories of this scourge have largely been relegated to history books, we have never gotten rid of this disease.