The Black Death pandemic, which decimated a large part of the European population in the Middle Ages, emerged in Central Asia, in what is now Kyrgyzstan, according to a study ending nearly seven centuries of questioning.
It was thanks to ancient human DNA, extracted from a 14th century burial site in northern Kyrgyzstan, that researchers were able to trace the source. Their findings, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, settle a very old debate among historians.
The Black Death epidemic reached Europe in 1346 through the Mediterranean basin, via ships carrying goods from the Black Sea. In just eight years, the “black death“killed up to 60% of the population of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. And marked the beginning of a long wave of the epidemic, which would resurface intermittently for 500 years.
One of my dreams was to solve the mystery of its origins
Where was she born ? One of the most commonly advanced leads was that of China, but no robust evidence could support this theory.
“I have always been fascinated by the Black Death, and one of my dreams was to solve the mystery of its origins“said disaster historian Phil Slavin, one of the study’s authors, at a press conference.